Announcing the 2009 Bipolar Lives Scholarship Winner

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The inaugural Bipolar Lives Scholarship is going to NH, a social work student in Wisconsin, who wrote a gripping account of turning to ECT for treatment when medication failed.

The inaugural Bipolar Lives Scholarship is going to NH, a social work student in Wisconsin, who wrote a gripping account of turning to ECT for treatment when medication failed.

According to scholarship donor Sarah Freeman:

"This was a wonderful entry describing personal experiences of electroshock therapy from a young person whose mania and depression did not respond satisfactorily to medications. The essay combines personal experience, facts about bipolar treatments, and a positive outlook in a manner that the whole judging panel found fresh and compelling. The winner was mailed their check today and we are publishing the winning entry, minus any identifying information. A problem with some of the very few scholarships available for consumers of mental health services is lack of privacy, and the associated stigma. We decided that we would not publish full names or require applicants to supply a lot of personal medical details. We try to minimize publicity for the recipient, while still honoring their achievement."

The winner has found the experience affirming and encouraging: "This scholarship is much more than financial support. Like many people with bipolar disorder, I know how what it means to feel unwanted and worthless. Being the recipient of the Bipolar Lives Scholarship makes me feel validated.It makes me want to believe in myself and believe that anyone with bipolar can rise above the pain and accomplish the things that may seem impossible. The most important lesson I learned when I heard that I got this scholarship is that I am not alone. We, mental health service consumers, are not alone in our suffering, and there are people out there who want to help. You just need to ask."

The next Bipolar Lives Scholarship round is already underway, with two major changes. "The prize money has been increased, and submissions must be in the form of a Squidoo Lens or an original Internet article." ( is a social media site that allows anyone to create a page, known as a lens. Lenses can be on any topic, and can contain text, media and links, for example Flickr photos, blogs, and YouTube videos. Squidoo is one of the world's top 200 Internet sites and has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to charity.)

Why the change? "There were many excellent submissions for the 2009 prize, but it was difficult to share these fascinating, informative, and moving insights into bipolar disorder with a wide audience, as most of them were in essay form. We have set up a blog for publishing them, but most entries are not really suited to the blog format. Using Squidoo Lenses and online articles will ensure all entries get shared on the Internet immediately, and will allow for more creative and flexible forms of expression", according to the organizers.

The Bipolar Lives Scholarship is an annual award, and submissions for the 2010 award are now open. The winner of the 2010 scholarship will be announced on July 1, 2010. Says Freeman, "The prize money has been increased from $500 to $750, and it is still free to apply. My goal is to grow to the point where we can make several annual awards of $1,000."

Applicants must be at least 18 years of age on July 1, 2009, and studying at a US college, community college, or a technical or trade school. Undergraduate and post-graduate students are all eligible. A complete list of suggested topics and submission requirements appears on the Bipolar Lives website. The winner will be selected on merit and chance plays no part.

For additional information on the Bipolar Lives Scholarship, contact Sarah Freeman or visit

Bipolar Lives is one of the Internet's leading sites on bipolar disorder, and provides a unique blend of the latest research, effective bipolar management tools and techniques, and personal stories about conquering manic depression.


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Sarah Moylan

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