Thinking of becoming a volunteer Telephone Mentor with Bipolar UK or wondering who our Mentors are? Take a look at these three experiences from some of our current volunteers.

Helen

Having had many years experience of supporting my mother with her bipolar diagnosis, both whilst living together and now living apart, I have first-hand experience of how bipolar can massively affect an individual and their family members.

This can have an influence on relationships, health and wellbeing, finance, and many other aspects of life.

I live with my husband and two children and work on a part-time basis. I enjoy being actively involved in my community and like to go for long walks and sightseeing.

As a Carer Mentor, Telephone Mentoring allows me to inform other family members and friends about bipolar, share my experiences and share information. It's a great way to talk to someone who is non-judgemental, friendly and a listening ear.

Louise

I was diagnosed with bipolar 15 years ago. At the time I didn't want to accept this diagnosis but as time passed I learned to understand what bipolar is and what it means for me to live well with this condition. Although I have good support from my family and good mental health support from my GP and Community Mental Health Team, I realised that I needed to have good coping strategies and mechanisms in order to stay well.

I am married, have a ten year old daughter and I work part-time.

Volunteering as a Mentor means that I can help others with a bipolar diagnosis to better understand and manage the condition. I wish this service was available when I was first diagnosed as it would have been great to have talked to someone else with the same diagnosis. I may not have felt as though I was the only person in the world with the thoughts and feelings I was experiencing.

It gives me a great deal of satisfaction to know that I can help others by using my understanding, skills and experience of living well with the condition.

David

I am 26 years old and I was diagnosed in 2009 when I was 19. I was sectioned and had to stay in hospital for a while.

I had just started university at the time and felt very alone with my diagnosis. I found it hard to cope with the stress of studying and dealing with how I was feeling. It meant I had to put my studies on hold and leave university for a while, which was very hard to do at the time as I thought I would never be able to go back to it. I felt very isolated and it was hard to talk to people as my friends didn't really understand what I was going through.

I tried to cope on my own for a while but I found I needed to take medication as well and build up my support networks, including attending Bipolar UK Support Groups. Through this process I built my confidence to finish my degree and start work. My experience has really helped me learn coping skills, which has prepared me for the role of Mentor.

I started Mentoring because it was something I wished I could have had when I was newly diagnosed and struggling; someone to talk to and share experiences with. It's been a positive experience as I realised how far I have come in my own recovery and, by sharing experiences with others, I have gained a better understanding of the condition for myself.

If you'd like to find out more about becoming a Telephone Mentor, visit our volunteering page.

Learn more about our Telephone Mentoring service for individuals with a diagnosis of bipolar, their family and carers.