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Bipolar Education Programme

The Bipolar Disorder Service at St Patrick’s Mental Health Services provides outpatient, day patient, inpatient and aftercare services. Service users are provided with the appropriate level of care depending on their individual needs.

The Bipolar Education Programme was established over 20 years ago and is unique to the Republic of Ireland. The Programme runs for 13 weeks, offering education and support to individuals and their families in the post-acute (middle) phase of recovery. Feedback from service users and best clinical evidence is incorporated into the programme which is coordinated by a clinical nurse specialist with cognitive therapy training.

About the Programme

  • Overview

    The Bipolar Education Programme is a group psycho-education and support programme for service users over the age of 18 diagnosed with bipolar affective disorder (BPAD) - formerly known as manic depression.

    Our goal is to provide a service that is timely, relevant and appropriate to the need of the individual and their families by offering psychosocial interventions with proven results that are practical and accessible.

    We advocate a collaborative approach to the management of bipolar disorder. Collaborative care is a way for individuals and their family or friends to work together with their clinician to get the best results from treatment. Collaborative care encourages the individual to assume the largest share of responsibility for making treatment work and fosters treatment concordance. Treatment concordance refers to the extent to which the individual, their clinician and support system are in agreement about the care plan.

    The Bipolar Education Programme aims to:

    • Educate service users and their families about bipolar disorder and treatment approaches
    • Teach methods of recognising and monitoring the occurrence and severity of mood swings and how to generate appropriate response plans.
    • Teach methods for recognising and managing stress and achieving lifestyle balance
    • Promote treatment concordance and a collaborative approach to care involving the service users, treatment team and family members
    • Support adjustment to living with a recurring illness and the need for long-term medications.
  • Family and friends

    A good support system is essential to recovery. Like you, family and supporters may need help to understand the illness and how best to support you now and when you return home. Therefore, over the course of the day programme, information and support sessions are offered to friends, families and supporters. The aim is to help carers better understand and deal with the issues that arise from living with bipolar disorder, to value the important role and experience of carers, to provide useful information about bipolar disorder, to promote resources that could be utilised by carers.

    The programme coordinator will advise you of these upcoming sessions. You can then nominate who you would like to be invited.

  • What to expect

    The programme is delivered by a multidisciplinary team of mental health professionals and includes a clinical nurse specialist in bipolar disorder, a psychiatrist, a social worker, psychiatric registrar and a family therapist.

    The programme runs over 13 weeks. It involves two phases. The 'foundation' phase and 'living well' phase. The 'foundation' programme runs for one week and is completed before progressing to the next phase. This first 'foundation' phase week consists of five days and the subsequent 'living well' phase involves one day a week outpatient attendance over 12 weeks (currently Wednesdays).

    The programme involves a series of lectures, group discussions and video presentations. Symptom identification, developing plans to maintain wellness and to prevent relapse, education about treatments and day-to-day coping strategies are key elements of this programme.

    Methods used are consistent with current evidence-based practice in the field of bipolar disorder. Information is taught using a combination of motivational, educational, and cognitive behavioural teaching principles and strategies. The information is summarised in resource book and educational handouts.

    The bipolar disorder team

    Our Bipolar Disorder Service consists of a team of experienced and qualified professionals who are dedicated in working together to treat and support individuals.

    The team is well rounded with psychiatrists, specialist nurses, psychologists, social workers, and family therapists.



When you come here first it'll be hard to open up but when you do things start to get better.

Des, Service User, age 32

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Bipolar Disorder Leaflet

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