Along with a lot of charities in the economic downturn, Bipolar UK is having a funding crisis. According to the Guardian, the charity itself is facing closure if it can’t raise £100,000 in the next few weeks. The charity’s own website is less stark and say ‘its services’ face closure , rather than that it is going to implode completely. However, the service affected are the outreach ones: self-help groups and information and advice provision such as helplines. http://www.bipolaruk.org.uk/appeal-why-we-need-your-help.html
I’ve just donated £100, which I can do because I’m lucky enough to be mildly enough affected by my Bipolar II that I can still work full-time. The people who need the charity most aren’t in that position. They are also poorly served by the NHS; even before the current cuts, mental health was disproportionately underfunded.
Suzanne Hudson of Bipolar UK says ‘The sad irony is that this funding crisis comes at a time when bipolar is beginning to be understood. As a result more individuals and families are finding the courage to seek our support. 2012 was unprecedented in terms of the number of individuals contacting us for help and accessing our services. It is increasingly the case that individuals’ first contact with us is at a time of crisis involving intervention with emergency services.’
My own experience of the charity is based around occasional attendance of a monthly group. You’re not supposed to talk about what happened outside the group itself, but I don’t think it will be a very terrible breach if I quote one new attendee saying ‘This is so valuable – just being here and talking to people who know the experience, so you’re not alone.’
So if you’ve enjoyed Four Corners of the Western World, and/or winced at some of Penny’s more alarming pratfalls over the past 18 months, please consider making a small donation.