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Mental health services: Bipolar

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Bipolar disorder support

Mental and emotional conditions

These pages of our health library may help you make informed decisions.

Suicide prevention

What family members can do

  • Remind the person that you are concerned about him or her. Encourage the person to talk about how he or she is feeling. Be an active listener and show support.
  • Take the person to all health care provider appointments. Learn all you can about bipolar disorder. You are an important member of the health care team. Don't be afraid to take notes or ask questions about the illness or treatment. For more information, ask your health care provider or National Institute of Mental Health (
  • If the person is taking medicine, help make sure he or she takes it as directed. If the person stops taking it, try to find out why. Is the medicine causing side effects? Does the person have negative feelings about taking medicine? Suggest the person make an appointment to talk with his or her health care provider.
  • Learn the warning signs of suicide. During the depressive phase, the person may have thoughts of suicide. Possible signs of suicide include:
    • talking or writing about suicide
    • being preoccupied with death
    • making a will
    • canceling or not making plans.
  • Have an action plan in case the person is suicidal. Make sure the entire family knows what to do. Call 911 in an emergency. For other instructions, call:
    • National Hopeline Network, 1-800-784-2433 (free, 24-hour help)
    • Crisis Connection (in the Twin Cities), 612-379-6363 (24-hour phone counseling)
    • Crisis Intervention Center at Hennepin County Medical Center (in Minneapolis), 612-347-2222.
  • Support the person during the illness. Invite him or her to participate in family events or to talk. Offer your help in whatever way you can.
  • Attend psychotherapy or counseling with the person, if possible.
  • Join a support group for caregivers. Ask your health care provider for more information.
  • Take care of yourself. You can't help anyone if you are ignoring your own feelings and physical health. Eat a healthy diet, get regular exercise, go out with friends or other family, take time for yourself, seek counseling if you feel you need help coping.

Care Navigation Help Desk

Allina Health care navigators can identify and coordinate a wide variety of resources to meet your needs and wishes. Call 612-262-2200 or 1-855-227-5111.

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depression), mh-ahc-11452
Reviewed by: Allina Health's Patient Education Department
First Published: 11/01/2005
Last Reviewed: 11/01/2005