Seattle Times - Seattle,WA,USA
... Their lives may be different, but they share a 20-year struggle with bipolar disorder and are proof that people can have meaningful lives as they manage their ... http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/health/2002089150_healthbpzine14.html
Wow, that is a great. I really hope this magazine is as successful as ADDitude has been for the AD/HD Community.
New magazine targets bipolar sufferers
By Peggy O'Crowley
Bob Carolla is a lawyer and communications director for a national advocacy group in suburban Washington. Margaret Perlice of Bound Brook, N.J., works part-time at Costco, has a job coach and caseworker and lives in a supervised apartment.
Their lives may be different, but they share a 20-year struggle with bipolar disorder and are proof that people can have meaningful lives as they manage their condition. They are also the intended audience for a new magazine aimed at helping them do that.
The magazine, titled bp, is written for the nearly 3 million Americans who are diagnosed with bipolar disorder, characterized by mood swings from mania to deep depression.
Not your typical magazine
"It's important to have a perspective. ... This is not a pamphlet handed out in the doctor's office that shows the symptoms and the medications to take. It's a popular magazine, and that sort of startles people because it doesn't match the stereotype," said Carolla, a spokesman for the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI), an advocacy group for people with mental illness and their families. He also is on the editorial board of the magazine, a quarterly with an initial run of 50,000 copies.
The stories are a mix of features, advice and practical help in managing bipolar disorder. The inaugural issue has a cover profile of actress Carrie Fisher, who has written a book about her illness. Other articles deal with how much of your mental history you should reveal in the workplace, how the disorder can strain relationships and how to reconnect.
There are columns for young people and parents of children who have been diagnosed as bipolar. Every issue will feature an inspirational success story of someone who has overcome the disorder.
"I see the magazine's mission as to break the stigma associated with BP. We want to encourage people to seek help, diagnosis and treatment," said Joanne Garvey, sales and operations director for Green Apple Courage, which publishes the magazine. "It's estimated that it takes 10 years for people to be properly diagnosed, and because of the stigma, 49 percent of people with the disorder say they are ashamed or embarrassed."
Bipolar disorder has gained visibility with a number of celebrities disclosing that they suffer from the illness. Broadcaster Jane Pauley, actress Linda Hamilton and soap-opera star Rees Bernard have "come out" within the past few years. The attention has led to claims from some that it has become the "diagnosis du jour" and is overdiagnosed.
20 percent affected
That suggestion offends Carolla, who said such an attitude trivializes the reality and severity of mental illness. "One in five Americans are affected by a mental illness at some point in their lifetimes," he said.
The magazine owes its existence to the success of a 10-year-old sister publication, Schizophrenia Digest. "We traveled across the country with SD," Garvey said, referring to the magazine. "People would come up to us and say, 'We love this, but do you have anything comparable for people with bipolar disorder?' "
Subscriptions, which cost $19.95 for four issues, will be marketed through consumer organizations, psychiatrists and behavioral health-care centers, Garvey said.
The initial issues are being sponsored by pharmaceutical companies that advertise medications to treat bipolar disorder, and consumer groups such as NAMI, she said. Garvey hopes to attract more mainstream advertisers in the future.
Carolla said the sponsorship by industry could raise some eyebrows over the publication's independence, but he said there is no input from funders. "It's something we have to be alert to, but when we sit down at an editorial panel, we don't talk about if the pharmaceutical companies, like it or not," he said.
Perlice, who lives independently with "a lot of support" from the Freedom Trail Self-Help Center in Somerset County, N.J., said she would like to read the magazine, as another way to connect with people like herself.
"It's important to show a brighter horizon, which bp magazine will do," Carolla said, pointing to his own life. After two severe depressive episodes, his disorder was diagnosed and is under control, he said. "I look at it as a chronic condition I have to manage."