Nonprofit organization of college students dedicated to raising awareness of mental health issues on campus and beyond.
Al-Anon [for family]
Printed and online magazine with useful articles to help someone live with the complexities of bipolar disorder. Articles often stem from someone’s personal experience walking the walk. Takes a problem-solving, creative, upbeat approach.
Brain and Behavior Research Foundation (BBRF)
Provides competitive research grants to neuroscientists seeking to better understand and treat brain circuitry disorders like schizophrenia, bipolar, severe depression, autism, etc. Families and donors are educated about scientists’ work through online newsletters, webinars, and conferences.
Bring Change 2 Mind
Co-founded by Glenn Close after sister Jessie was diagnosed with bipolar after many troubled years. Encourages open conversation about a variety of mental health issues to promote understanding and improve lives.
Child Mind Institute
National non-profit dedicated to transforming the lives of children who struggle with mental health and learning disorders. An excellent resource for families, teachers, policymakers.
Depression Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)
Major organization to promote understanding and empowerment of those living with these illnesses. Hosts support groups, trains peer mentors, and provides community.
Juvenile Bipolar Research Foundation
Provides wide-ranging information enabling families and clinicians to work together to provide better outcomes for children and adolescents. Gives guidance for finding alternative education possibilities or residential treatment if needed.
Mental Health America
Community-based non-profit dedicated to promoting the mental health of all Americans. Known for its B4Stage4 philosophy: create awareness and treat mental health conditions long before they reach crisis level.
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
Largest grass-roots organization set up to educate, support, and advocate for those living with mental illnesses as well as their families. Offers peer-support groups. A good place to start finding other local resources available to you.
National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice
Agency founded in 2001 that aims to improve outcomes for youth with mental health, substance abuse, or trauma-related conditions who have come into contact with the juvenile justice system. Offers research, training, and strategic planning for schools and court systems so they can work together with families to help kids in crisis get the care they need to continue in school and stay out of jail.
Self-run, self-supported recovery houses for adults who have addiction issues. Founded in 1975, listed on the National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices, Oxford Houses offer housing, community, and accountability for adults in transition from detox/jail/prison to a life of recovery on the outside.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA)
Government agency created to make these critical aspects of health care more widely accessible. Consult website to find critical hotlines, information, and the behavioral health centers supported by SAMHSA located nearest you.
Treatment Advocacy Center
Source of legal and policy information for families of adults who are most severely impacted by mental illness and do not accept treatment. Helps to legislate Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) and to advise local Mental Health Courts.
Vera Institute of Justice
Nonprofit organization committed to securing equal justice for all, ending mass incarceration, and strengthening families and communities. Produces thought-provoking criminal justice research studies and promotes pathways to reform.
Chödrön, Pema. When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times. Boulder, CO: Shambhala, 2016 (1997). [An American Buddhist trained in the Tibetan tradition teaches practices of non-judgmental compassion for self and others in a world of change. Teaches useful concepts to aid self-awareness.]
Fast, Julie A. and John Preston. Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder: A 4-Step Plan for You and Your Loved Ones to Manage the Illness and Create Lasting Stability. New York: Grand Central Life & Style/Hachette, 2006. [Written by a knowledgeable team, this is a useful workbook to treat and train for a life with bipolar. Includes individual stories and clear explanations of bipolar behaviors along with space to write out your own observations/goals. Special text boxes are addressed to family and friends on specific ways to help a loved one.]
Fawcett, Jan, M.D., Bernard Golden, Ph.D. and Nancy Rosenfeld. New Hope for People with Bipolar Disorder. New York: Random House, 2006, 2007. [Gives a solid overview of the illness, treatments, medications, therapies, lifestyle adaptations.]
Federman, Russ, Ph.D. and J. Anderson Thomson, Jr., M.D. Facing Bipolar: The Young Adult’s Guide to Dealing with Bipolar Disorder. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger, 2010. [Written by a university mental health counselor, offers advice for persons in their twenties learning to grapple with the challenges of an autonomous, bipolar-under-treatment life.]
Forney, Ellen. Rock Steady: Brilliant Advice from My Bipolar Life. Seattle, WA: Fantagraphics Books, 2018. [A cartoonist shows the complexity of staying stable through personal experience, advice, and coping tools gleaned over fourteen years of balance adjustments. Funny drawings and bold layout will appeal to your arty, kinetic side.]
Greene, Esq., J. D., and Olivia Allen. “Disrupting School-Justice Pathways for Youth with Behavioral Health Needs,” National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, 2017. [One of the studies available from the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice. Shows how setting up a School Responder Model (SRM) can help schools, families, and courts work together to get at-risk kids to behavioral health treatment before they get arrested.]
Kennedy, Patrick J. and Stephen Fried. A Common Struggle: A Personal Journey Through the Past and Future of Mental Illness and Addiction. New York: Blue Rider/Penguin Random House, 2015. [Personal testimony from within the Kennedy family, followed by the author’s recommendations for evidence-based policy changes to improve outcomes for people with mental health disorders.]
Lederman, Judith S. and Candida Fisk, M.D. The Ups and Downs of Raising a Bipolar Child: A Survival Guide for Parents. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2003.
Long, Liza. The Price of Silence: A Mom’s Perspective on Mental Illness. New York: Hudson/Penguin, 2014. [A courageous mom talks about her family’s difficulties and makes the case to show why these issues matter to everyone. Author of “I am Adam Lanza’s mother” article published after Sandy Hook Elementary shooting.]
Lowe, Chelsea and Bruce M. Cohen, M.D., Ph.D. Living with Someone who’s Living with Bipolar Disorder. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass/Wiley, 2010. [Another helpful book for family, friends, partners, or co-workers of people living with bipolar.]
McKay, Matthew, Ph.D., Jeffrey C. Wood, Psy.D., and Jeffrey Brantley, MD. The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger, 2007. [Teaches practical exercises to help individuals understand the connections between their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. DBT has been shown to be one of the most effective therapies to help people who live with mood disorders, traumatic stress, or overwhelming emotions.]
Miklowitz, David J., Ph.D. The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide. New York: Guilford, Third Edition 2019. [A comprehensive classic by a respected physician, updated with new strategies.]
David J. Miklowitz and Elizabeth L. George, Ph.D. The Bipolar Teen: What You Can Do to Help Your Child and Your Family. New York: Guilford, 2007.
Papolos, Demetri, M.D. and Janice Papolos. The Bipolar Child. New York: Broadway, Third Edition, 2007. [Guide for parents to navigate the confusing complexities of this disorder in children and adolescents. Useful guide for life at home, at school, with doctors and health insurance providers. Important guidance in preparing an IEP (Individualized Education Program) for your child at a local school.]
Pierce-Baker, Charlotte. This Fragile Life: a mother’s story of a bipolar son. Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books, 2012. [Riveting account of young adult-onset bipolar with addiction, jail, trauma, and the costly search for treatment. How two professional parents cope. Includes useful list of resources for adults.]
Pozatek, Krissy. The Parallel Process: Growing Alongside your Adolescentor Young Adult Child in Treatment. New York: Lantern Books, 2011. [A therapist’s guide to show parents how they can let go of old patterns and grow new ones, while their kids struggle with responsibility and self-awareness in treatment.]
Sheff, David. Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey through his son’s Addiction. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2008. [Chronicles a father’s close relationship with the son of his first marriage, Nic, even as the teen falls down a rabbit hole of meth addiction and treatment cycles that impact Sheff’s new family, as well as Nic’s mom. Guilt, remorse, rebuilding, boundaries: it all comes up in this story.]
Sheff, Nic. Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines. New York: Atheneum, 2008. [A through-the-looking-glass, parallel memoir by the son telling how he became addicted, why he preferred self-medication to taking prescribed pharmaceuticals, and describing his struggles/ruses in treatment programs. The television screenwriter has continued to be open about his life with bipolar and efforts to maintain recovery in articles published online.]