Every year, more than 40 million people struggle with some sort of mental disorder, ranging in severity from mildly impactful to seriously debilitating.1 Bipolar disorder tends to significantly affect a person, interfering with many normal life activities. It’s estimated to affect about 2.6% of the U.S. adult population.2 Of those with bipolar disorder, almost 83% have a serious condition—a classification based on the presence of specific, severe indicators (e.g., a previous suicide attempt in last 12 months with serious lethality intent).2
Comprehensive treatment helps most people with bipolar disorder manage their symptoms, even people with very severe cases. And while statistics state that a little more than 55% of people with bipolar disorder seek treatment, that treatment is sometimes inadequate.2
A bipolar disorder helpline can help you find the best treatment available in your area, as well as information about the types of treatment you might choose from. Bipolar hotlines are always free, private, and confidential.
What Questions Should I Ask?
People call bipolar disorder hotlines for all kinds of reasons. Many people call because they are lonely, depressed, or just looking for someone who understands what they are going through. Others call because they need resources for treatment and don’t want to choose one out of a digital phone book. A knowledgeable hotline treatment advisor can explain your options for specialists in your area. If you are interested in finding a specific type of doctor or treatment center—like women-only or faith-based—a bipolar helpline can point you in the right direction.
Some questions to ask when you call a bipolar hotline might include:
- What types of treatment help people with bipolar disorder?
- What are the differences between inpatient and outpatient programs?
- Can I do group therapy on an outpatient basis?
- Which therapists near me specialize in bipolar counseling?
- Do I have to go on medication? Where can I get it?
- What should I do if my loved one needs help for bipolar disorder?
- What type of treatment is best for suicidal people?
Should I Call a Bipolar Hotline?
If you or someone you know has bipolar disorder (or suspects they may), then a bipolar hotline is for you. At the very least you can speak to someone who is compassionate and understanding, and you might come out of it with much more—like an action plan for getting treatment.
Some reasons people call bipolar disorder hotlines include:
- They think they might have bipolar.
- They believe that someone they love has the disorder.
- They want to learn about getting a diagnosis.
- They want to find a therapist, psychiatrist, or treatment center.
- They want to learn more about treatment options.
- They are considering hospitalization or inpatient treatment.
- They are in crisis and need someone to talk to.
- Someone they love is in crisis and they want to help.
Mental Health Information
If you are struggling with mental health problems, you probably want to learn more about common disorders, such as depression and anxiety, which are hallmarks of bipolar disorder. Many mental health hotlines provide general information to anyone who needs it.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): (800) 662-4357. This is a free, confidential, 24-hour hotline that offers help in English and Spanish. It is for referrals and information only, not counseling or emotional support. You can learn more about common mental health conditions, substance abuse disorders, and treatment options.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): (800) 950-NAMI (6264), firstname.lastname@example.org. The NAMI Helpline is available Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. EST and is a good place to ask general questions about mental health and treatment. This hotline doesn’t provide counseling or give specific treatment recommendations, but it can connect you to services in your area.
- Covenant House Teen Hotline: (800) TLC-TEEN (852-8336); (310) 855-HOPE (4673); Text TEEN to 839863. This free mental health hotline is available to teens by phone 9 p.m.-1 a.m. EST and by text 9 p.m.-12 a.m. PST. You can also text TEEN to 839863 from 9 p.m.-12 a.m.
Bipolar Disorder Hotlines
Extreme highs and lows mark this disorder: during manic states, people may feel out of control, afraid that they could hurt themselves or someone else; during depressed states, they often feel hopeless and suicidal.3
Bipolar crisis hotlines help people during these extreme episodes, offering to get them into a safe place physically and mentally. They can also connect people to an emergency crisis intake center, hospital, or treatment center.
It is not uncommon for people with bipolar disorder to become suicidal. If you are afraid that you or someone you know is going to hurt themselves, you should call 911 immediately.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800) 273-TALK (8255); en Español, 1-888-628-9454; Chat, Lifeline Crisis Chat Program. This is a national network of local crisis centers that provides 24/7, free, and confidential support, connecting callers with the center nearest them. You do not have to be suicidal when you call the lifeline; you can call whenever you are experiencing emotional distress.
- Crisis Text Line: Text HELLO to 741741. This is a free and confidential health hotline open 24 hours a day. After texting HELLO to the hotline, you receive an automated text asking about your crisis. Your response helps them find the best counselor for you, and they connect you to them within minutes. The Crisis Text Line is a good resource anytime you feel distressed, out of control, or depressed.
- Boys Town National Hotline: (800) 448-3000; Text VOICE to 20121. The Boys Town National Hotline is available by phone 24 hours a day, every day of the year. It is meant for children, teens, and their families. If you are the child of someone with bipolar disorder, this is also a good resource for you. You can call to talk about your parent’s emotional state or call, chat, email, or text whenever you are facing a crisis. Text services are available every day from 3 p.m.-2 a.m. EST. Chat services are available Monday–Friday, 7 p.m.-1 a.m. EST. Spanish-speaking services are available by phone only.
- Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. This is not actually a hotline but a good collection of information about bipolar disorder. This organization recommends calling the Suicide Prevention Lifeline or the Crisis Text Line in the event of a crisis. It also provides state-by-state resources for local crisis intervention hotlines, as well as information about treatment options on its website.
- National Institute on Mental Health. (n.d.). Any Mental Illness Among U.S. Adults.
- National Institute on Mental Health. (n.d.). Bipolar Disorder Among Adults.
- National Institute on Mental Health. (2016). Bipolar Disorder.