Awareness week educates on mental health

Sophie Dixon, 22, suffers from bipolar disorder
Sophie Dixon, 22, suffers from bipolar disorder

One in 100 people will be diagnosed with bipolar at some point in their lives according to the NHS.

Mental health awareness week runs from May 14 to 20 and aims to raise awareness of mental health problems whilst promoting good mental health for everyone.

Sophie Dixon, 22, is a support worker in the community for adults with disabilities and lives in Horsham.

She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder after visiting her GP with symptoms of depression and intrusive thoughts.

Sophie’s GP referred her to Time to Talk (a talking therapy service) who then referred her to the community mental health team who assessed her further.

After this she saw a psychiatrist who she continues to see every two months, alongside a care coordinator every two weeks.

Sophie takes medication to help control her bipolar.

Sophie said: “Medically I’ve got a very good support system.”

She added: “I’m quite an advocate for medication if it helps but obviously it’s personal choice.”

Bipolar disorder is a condition that affects your moods, which can swing from one extreme to another.

People with bipolar have periods of depression and mania (feeling high or overactive) or hypomania (less severe mania).

Sophie tries to maintain a routine which helps regulate her bipolar.

She said: “I was having 3 meals a day which had a really positive impact on me.

“I was getting regular exercise and still am, going to bed at a reasonable time, getting up at the same time each day and that has had an incredible impact on me, much more than I anticipated.”

When discussing how the disorder manifests itself Sophie said that the day to day stresses of life can have a greater affect on sufferers of bipolar.

She added: “I react to a greater extent.”

Events like mental health awareness week are all about increasing understanding of mental health.

Sophie said: “For the most part people are really really encouraging, really supportive, very keen to have conversations about it and keen to learn which is really really good.”

She added: “People are really willing to learn as well.

“We’re making it more and more acceptable and making people more and more comfortable which is amazing.”