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October 1, 2007

Youth Interrupted - How one person's Bipolar Disorder led to a major Adolecent Mental Health Program

The Adolescent Mental Health Initiative is a major, University of Pennsylvania-led effort to address what one expert calls the "chronic diseases of the young."

There is a good story this month in the University of Pennsylvania Alumni magazine on a major new mental health initiative that is taking place there. Its a story of hope - of how one person's struggle with bipolar disorder has led to a major adolescent mental health initiative that could help thousands, if not millions, of people.

Following is a short quote from the story:

Before Patrick Jamieson was able to get his bipolar disorder under control, his life was unraveling. Mania and depression had transformed the rutty road of adolescence into a kind of carnival speedway, one whose surface alternated between rain-slicked blacktop and tire-engulfing mud.

“During one manic episode, I followed the turn signals of the car ahead of me for direction because I thought God was trying to lead me,” he recalls in his 2006 memoir, Mind Race: A Firsthand Account of One Teenager’s Experience with Bipolar Disorder. “But mania sparks second and third interpretations for every action. Alternatively, I thought following the car ahead of me would reveal something important and otherwise unknowable, a mystery unraveled—where that car was going.”

Patrick Jamieson is now the editor of a series of books for the Adolescent Mental Health Initiative (AMHI), whose mission is to “synthesize and disseminate scientific research on the prevention and treatment of mental disorders in adolescents.” One of those books is Mind Race, which he describes as “the book I searched for and could not find” when he was finally diagnosed at age 15.

Read the full story: Youth, Interrupted


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