There are many global platforms/communities focused on Bipolar Disorder, Depression and other Mental health conditions. However, talking about such issues openly in India, one faces the barrier of stigma associated with mental illnesses. Stigma isolates those already suffering with mental health concerns adding to their torment. In order to partially address this, Vijay Nallawala was encouraged by friend and Mentor Puneet Bhatnagar to set up this website. He could foresee the value it would go on to create, with uncanny precision.
Thus, in May 2013, was born BipolarIndia, probably India’s first such community led by peers, for peers.
This is a Community for persons living with Bipolar Disorder, Depression, other mental health conditions (and their Caregivers) who engage with each other. We interact on one common platform with one simple goal: offering help to each other in a compassionate way.
In order to bring all our members on one platform, we have a pan India Telegram App based Peer Support Group.
(If you live with a mental health condition or a family carer to one, you might want to join our community. To be a part of this network connected on Telegram, please share your details as a comment below or, better still, send them to us via the Contact Us Page.)
We are also a bridge between resources and those living with Mental Health issues: Our Resources Page is a rich learning ground. We try to provide information on Mental Health Professionals, Institutions, NGOs and Holistic Healing Experts to our members, when such information is sought.
Do we only talk about the Bio-Medical approach and Therapy for management of Chronic Mental Health Conditions?
While that might form the most important part of managing serious and chronic mental disorders, our approach is Holistic. Hence we advocate Yoga (especially, Pranayam), regular exercise, a nutritious diet, sleep hygiene, creative expression, etc, for a sustainable recovery.
You can expect inspirational stories, coping tips and suggestions from peers and post your own doubts and queries. We try to ensure to the best of our ability that members find it a safe space to express themselves. Most importantly, it is a meeting ground of people who resonate with the experiences of each other. It is by sharing our experiences that we gain knowledge and better insight, develop resilience and break the stranglehold of stigma and isolation.
Being in a Peer Support Community has several benefits.
A sense of belonging, of people understanding your challenges because they have experienced these themselves, of realising that recovery is possible. Of the realisation that ‘I am not the only one living with these challenges! There are so many like me!’ And observing how others manage themselves. This instils hope and makes members more determined to stick the path, no matter how daunting this might seem to be.
From today onwards, maybe you have a reason to feel less lonely.
Feel heard. In a safe space.
Most heart-warming is the shape this organisation has taken having over the years:
~ From online to in-person engagements
We have been conducting In-Person PEER SUPPORT Meetings in Mumbai since 2016 on a monthly basis. This movement has now gradually expanded its reach and is gathering momentum in Delhi-NCR and other cities too.
~ National Conference to mark World Bipolar Day has been hosted by us since 2016, becoming our Flagship annual event that sees participation from distant corners of the country. A true celebration of community!
~ Workshops conducted by us include one on The Mental Health Care Act, 2017, on non clinical approaches to well being and many more being planned.
~ As mentioned earlier, we have a Telegram App based Peer Support Group drawing those living with mental health conditions from all over India. This also acts as a real time help forum for persons in distress. Our timely interventions have many a times helped in serious mental health emergencies. Do consider joining our community if you too live with mental health issues.
~ If you are a Carer to such a person/s, we have a dedicated group for family carers as well. We recognise that recovery from mental health challenges directly involves families, especially in the Indian context. They too often face challenges while supporting their loved ones and might find being in a community beneficial.
~ We have hosted many focused Online Sessions for our pan India community. Some of these sessions have been conducted by Experts from varied domains such as Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, Yoga and Nutrition.
~ Bipolarindia is now formalised as an organisation and is an initiative under the aegis of Mental Health Support Foundation, a Registered Charitable Trust.
~ With our ‘Nurture Centre’ established in Mumbai in Dec 2023, we have increased our offerings to the community. With higher frequency of meets which will be followed by workshops on relevant topics too.
Our journey has been one of immense learning, yet we have only just begun.
~ In 2021 we launched an initiative focused on livelihoods for persons with mental health conditions, Let’s Walk Together
Several other such significant projects are on the planning board and the path ahead is inviting!
This site strongly advocates for consulting Psychiatrists/Clinical Psychologists for diagnosis & treatment of Bipolar Disorder/ other serious mental disorders. Lived experience has limitations and thus, any methods or resources suggested on this site are at best supplementary in the healing process and NOT by any means an alternative to professional treatment under the care of a Psychiatrist/Psychologist.