by Dr. Alisha Brosse, Sutherland Center Associate Director

The Sutherland Seminar Series (SSS) is an 8-week educational series open to anyone in the community who wants to learn more about bipolar disorders. The SSS covers topics such as: What is bipolar disorder? How is it diagnosed? What is the relationship between bipolar disorder and other disorders, like anxiety, ADHD, and substance use disorders? If you have bipolar disorder, what are some things you can do to improve mood stability? What professional treatments are available, and how does one shop for a therapist or medication prescriber? What is the impact of bipolar disorder on relationships, and how does social support and relationship stress affect bipolar disorder? Finally, what can you do in a true crisis? And, how can you use a wellness plan to help you or your loved one prevent relapse?

We started to offer the SSS in January 2008, and just started our 17th series. Over 950 people have attended a seminar! Participants have included people who have (or suspect they have) a bipolar disorder, family members, friends, therapists, and probation officers. The SSS is consistent with our mission to educate the public and train mental health providers.

The information provided is geared towards adults with bipolar disorder. Some parents of adolescents with bipolar disorder, and a few adolescents themselves, have attended and said that they benefited from the information. However, parents should be forewarned that we discuss some of the risky behaviors and dire consequences that sometimes go along with bipolar disorder (such as suicide, risky sexual practices, substance use, hospitalization, financial ruin, and being arrested). If you think your child is not old enough or not mature enough to hear this information, we encourage you to come without your child.

People can come to any or all of the seminars. No registration or commitment is required. Like all of our services, we don’t want money to get in the way of someone getting the resources they need. That’s why we have a donation can available, instead of a set fee.

People regularly tell us how valuable the SSS has been to them. Here are a few quotes from people who put their thoughts in writing:

“Thank you ~ Very grateful for your work!”

“Dear Alisha + Renee,
Thank you so much for providing the seminars on Mood Disorders at the Sutherland Center. It is a real contribution to the community and was well presented and well organized. I’m certainly appreciative of having participated!”

“I want to thank you for your bipolar seminars… I find the information you provide giving me essential information about this disease which is present in my family. And equally important to me, I get a sense of hope of effective intervention from the strategies you describe. I have noticed that in sessions, you have included the caution that not everything works all the time, but still some things may work/help. And your website and you seem to involve your hearts in your work; you seem to care for those with whom you work. I appreciate that.”

The current series runs through March 28th, 2016. We meet on Mondays, 6 – 7:30 pm, in room E214 of the Muenzinger Psychology Building on campus at CU-Boulder. The next series will be offered in the fall.

You can purchase an audio version of the entire series through BipolarResources.org