Tiger tale welcome
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.