Tiger tale wel­come

Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION -

Edi­tor,

Re­gard­ing ‘Tap­ing the Tiger of Bipo­lar Dis­or­der’ by Jim Chipp [KMN June 21].

I wel­comed the above ar­ti­cle which doc­u­mented the pos­i­tive qual­i­ties of peo­ple with bipo­lar dis­or­der. As was rightly pointed out, those with bipo­lar dis­or­der can of­ten be very cre­ative peo­ple and high achiev­ers – char­ac­ter­is­tics that are widely re­flected in mem­bers of our peer sup­port group.

Too of­ten peo­ple who ex­pe­ri­ence men­tal dis­tress are stig­ma­tised and iso­lated within the com­mu­nity. In­stead we should cel­e­brate the re­solve, de­ter­mi­na­tion and skills and re­sources peo­ple de­velop to over­come the quite over­whelm­ing ob­sta­cles such ill­nesses can present. More­over, many peo­ple, de­spite the de­bil­i­tat­ing chal­lenges they face, func­tion just like any other mem­bers of so­ci­ety.

With one in five New Zealan­ders ex­pe­ri­enc­ing men­tal ill­ness at some point in their lives we need to fo­cus on peo­ple’s tal­ents and abil­i­ties rather than por­tray­ing them in a neg­a­tive light.

Bal­ance Welling­ton sup­port group, as a peer group run by vol­un­teers does just this. The group meets once a month in John­sonville Com­mu­nity Cen­tre and the in­for­mal group meet­ings of­fer a sup­port­ive non-judg­men­tal en­vi­ron­ment where peo­ple are able to build self-es­teem and con­fi­dence through shar­ing ex­pe­ri­ences and in­for­ma­tion.

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