I have bipolar and know how hard it is to get treatment. We should invest in routine services to give people the tools they need to fight their own demons

Ignorance and a lack of empathy are responsible for most of the world’s ills, but they are at their most insidious when it comes to how we treat those with mental health issues.

People get uncomfortable when I’m open about my bipolar , as though speaking candidly about my mental health was violating some unspoken pact. It’s a form of discrimination subtler than most. It presents itself in smiles and soft patronising voices, in stock phrases such as “Cheer up!”, and “It could be worse.” The truly sad thing, though, is that these reactions often come from a warped attempt at kindness – people earnestly trying to do the right thing but having no idea how to achieve it.

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It's a Kafkaesque nightmare navigating bureaucracy when you are so ill that you’re thinking about killing yourself

Related: Experiences of bipolar disorder: 'Every day it feels like I must wear a mask'

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Mental health is a level of psychological well-being, or an absence of a mental disorder; it is the "psychological state of someone who is functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioral adjustment".

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