Following feedback from local employers, the Swindon Mindful Employer Network has invited back two top speakers on Bipolar Disorder. Fiona Cooper of Bipolar UK and Nicola Oliver of the Centre for Mental Health will headline ‘Bipolar: depression and mania – what employers need to know’ taking place at Jurys Inn Swindon on Monday 9th March.

Bipolar – sometimes known as manic depression – is a severe mental health illness characterised by significant mood swings including manic highs and depressive lows. The majority of individuals with bipolar experience alternating episodes of mania and depression. The symptoms can first occur and then reoccur when work, studies, family or emotional pressures are at their greatest. Compared to other health problems, treatment of bipolar is still badly affected by misunderstanding and stigma.

Fiona Cooper, feels employers can do more to help their staff: ‘We welcome this opportunity to return to Swindon to help raise awareness of bipolar, particularly in the workplace. This event comes at a time when Bipolar UK is hoping to extend the support it can offer to people in the workplace. At Bipolar UK we are able to help the employee and employer by providing useful support and advice to ensure someone with a bipolar diagnosis can remain a valuable and productive colleague”

Nicola Oliver said: “Somewhere between 1% - 2% of the population experience a lifetime prevalence of bipolar disorder and recent research suggests that as many as 5% of the population are on the bipolar spectrum. Bipolar Disorder can have a considerable impact on people’s lives, however despite their symptoms many are able to work. Some people will work without their employer knowing about their condition, others might disclose their diagnosis and need a little understanding and/or support from their line manager and peers. Every employer should be aware of what Bipolar Disorder is and how they can support their employees with the diagnosis to make the most of their talents.”

Melanie Richens, who is chairman of the network, says: “We are delighted that both Nicola and Fiona are returning to Swindon. The reaction from businesses after their last presentations several years ago was very positive indeed. There is considerable interest in bipolar and employers are keen to learn more about the depression and mania associated with the disorder.”

Cormac MacMahon , News Editor of Heart FM, will also host an interview and Q&A session with speakers and contributors.

Peter Rudge of Jurys Inn Swindon commented: “Jurys Inn is a keen supporter of the Swindon Mindful Employer Network and we are looking forward to having a very well attended and interesting event. The wellbeing of our colleagues at Jurys Inn is important and we urge employers to take part in the growing network.”

The one-off event is taking place at the Jurys Inn Swindon on Monday 9th March. It is free to representatives of Swindon employers and booking is essential.

The Swindon Mindful Employer Network is funded by Public Health at Swindon Borough Council.

More details from smen@richmondfellowship.org.uk