Managing our moods is something we all struggle with and coping with bipolar during the Covid-19 crisis has been a serious challenge for many of us. If you’re finding life more difficult, why not consider using the True Colours mood monitoring tool?

What is True Colours?

True Colours is an online self-management system that allows you to monitor your symptoms and experiences using text, email and the Internet. By answering questionnaires, you create a record of how you are feeling and can see how it changes over time. You can use this to help you to manage your own health and to share information with your family, friends or care team. Your data is stored on a secure computer system.

How can True Colours help?

Monitoring your wellbeing with True Colours will help you to notice when your feelings are changing. You can then act quickly to stop things from getting worse. This online record can also be annotated to note items such as changes in medication, changes in environmental stressors, and behavioural changes that might have happened. True Colours naturally lends itself to self-management, and is often used alongside integrated self-help programmes. 

How to join True Colours

Over 1,000 people from all over the UK now use True Colours regularly as part of a research project run by Worcester, Oxford and Cardiff Universities in collaboration as the Bipolar Disorder Research Network (BDRN). As one participant fed back to the team:

“Finding True Colours 4 years ago has made a monumental difference to how I live and manage my illness today. True Colours has become the most valuable and reliable resource I’ve found to date. It has kept me as well as I feel today.” 

When you sign up to the project, you receive 2 short (less than 5 minute) questionnaires per week to complete online, via your smartphone or other device. You will be able to access the data you submit and see a graph tracking your mood scores over time. 

In response to the Covid-19 crisis, the team are asking True Colours participants to answer some extra questions about how they are managing their mood symptoms during the pandemic and how their contact with mental health services has changed. It is hoped this will help to highlight the impact of the crisis on individuals with bipolar disorder over time and inform the development of sources of help.

Professor Lisa Jones, who leads the research team at the University of Worcester says:

 “There are particular challenges due to COVID-19 for many people who have bipolar disorder, and our True Colours participants are finding it helpful to monitor these in relation to their mental health and wellbeing. In addition, True Colours is providing invaluable data about how mood symptoms change over the course of this pandemic. We are very grateful to all of our wonderful BDRN participants who continue to support our research even in these very difficult times – thank you to all of them from everyone in the BDRN central team”.

If you have bipolar disorder and are interested in joining True Colours the BDRN team would love to hear from you – you can find more information on the BDRN website or email the team directly here.

As regular True Colours participant Ben confirms: 

“In a whole host of ways this has proved to be a godsend. The regularity with which the prompt email arrives acts as a support, and indeed comfort, at times when illness seems to bring only irregularity and uncertainty.” 

Other useful links:

Bipolar UK Covid-19 impact survey

Bipolar UK mood scale 

Bipolar UK mood diary