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More young people seek bipolar help and advice

14th January 2010

A growing number of young people are seeking help for bipolar disorder.

depression

New figures show that in the last six months the number of 18 to 24-year-olds seeking help has doubled, with calls to helplines rising from an average of 400 a day to more than 800.

MDF, The BiPolar Organisation, has put the increase partly down to a storyline in EastEnders featuring the character Stacey Slater.

A spokesperson for MDG said: "Calls doubled since EastEnders started the bipolar storyline with Stacey Slater.

"Having complex bipolar issues put in front of eight million viewers four times a week can only increase public health education. In turn this will lead to greater understanding and early intervention of this illness."

Following the soap opera storyline The BDRN (Bipolar Disorder Research Network) said it had 8,536 visitors to its website within two days.

The organisations are now hoping the storyline continues to help tackle the stigma associated with mental illness and that more young people will come forward to get help.

Bipolar is a mental disorder which affects more than 500,000 people in the UK and involves mood swings from low and depressed to extreme highs.

One sufferer, 22-year-old Gary from Lincoln was wrongly diagnosed with depression at first and given antidepressants though says he would rather have had therapy.

Actress Lacey Turner, who plays Stacey said she found filming some scenes hard.

Script writers from EastEnders worked closely with experts in the field to ensure they portrayed the mental disorder realistically.

 

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