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New Scholarship For Leaders of Bipolar Lives

Jul 27, 2008
Many bipolar people are very talented but fail to reach their full potential. By providing cash awards for students in higher education, scholarships for people with bipolar disorder give practical support to the bipolar community.

However, relatively few such scholarships exist, and it can be difficult to discover information about them. According to the donor of a newly established bipolar scholarship, "Bipolar disorder is in the news constantly right now. This has done a lot of good in terms of raising awareness and shattering some of the myths about bipolar. However, this new awareness needs to be matched by practical measures that encourage and support the bipolar community. Many people with bipolar disorder are highly gifted, but show a pattern of under achieving. Higher education seems like the right place to focus on. There is a definite shortage of higher education scholarships for consumers of mental health services."

Some pharmaceutical companies that produce medications for treating bipolar offer scholarships, and a few others are available from private foundations. Some are also offered by private donors. Ideally, such scholarships would encourage research, reflection, and creativity in communicating important information about bipolar disorder.

A problem with some of the few scholarships available for consumers of mental health services is lack of privacy and stigma. Particularly welcome would be more scholarships that do not require detailed disclosure of any medical details, or publicity for the recipient. This trend seems to be changing, according to the organizer of one of the recently established new bipolar scholarships, "Too often, shame is attached to the bipolar label and we need to attract as many applicants as possible."

Another exciting trend is the creation of scholarships that cater to the creativity of people with bipolar. For example, inviting submissions using multimedia formats and YouTube videos, as well as conventional essays.

The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) suggest students with bipolar disorder concentrate their search at the state and local level, as this is where the majority of scholarship opportunities exist. It is also a good idea to focus on the college the student wishes to attend, and apply for a broad range of scholarships, instead of just those relevant to consumers of mental health services. In this way they can talk about conquering bipolar in the context of a larger life story, instead of being defined by the bipolar label.

Some commentators fear that recent tragedies such as the campus shooting in Virginia will further marginalize students who are identified as having mental health issues. However, the reality is that bipolar students are more likely to be victims of violent crime than to commit such crimes.

Too many brilliant but bipolar individuals are not as fulfilled and productive as they could be, due to the disruption of mood episodes, but also because of frustration from lack of education and self actualization.

Today some excellent online guides to scholarships for students with bipolar disorder exist. Anyone who feels they may be eligible should research these opportunities and take advantage of the support on offer.
About the Author
For additional information on the Bipolar Lives Scholarship, visit Bipolar Scholarships. Sarah Freeman is an attorney with manic-depressive illness, and webmaster of Bipolar Lives, one of the Internet's leading sites on bipolar disorder. Bipolar Lives provides a unique blend of the latest research, effective bipolar management tools and techniques, and personal stories.
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