Bipolar disorder is associated with poor mental and physical health outcomes, and therefore, it is crucial to research and develop effective interventions for this population (Grande et al., 2016). Unfortunately, research on the efficacy of current interventions shows only small improvements in symptoms and quality of life (Oud et al., 2016). Additionally, individuals with bipolar disorder face barriers to accessing care like social stigma, isolation and financial constraints (Blixen et al., 2016). This paper aims to introduce and examine the effectiveness of an accessible, peer-led group program, Mood Lifters (Votta and Deldin, 2022), in those who completed the program and also self-reported a diagnosis of bipolar disorder.
Mood Lifters is a 15-week, peer-led group program that approaches mental wellness from a biopsychosocial framework using strategies from a variety of evidence-based treatment methods (e.g. cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, etc.). Participants meet once a week for 1 hour to review various mental health topics, including behavioral changes and insight into mood patterns. Individuals who participated in nonacademic groups in a company setting and self-reported a bipolar diagnosis were surveyed at the beginning and end of their program to measure various aspects of psychological functioning.
Results suggest that these individuals experienced significant improvements in depression, anxiety, social functioning and perceived stress, along with flourishing and positive and negative affect.
These findings are promising, given that bipolar disorder is historically difficult to treat (Grande et al., 2016). Based on this preliminary evidence, the authors have developed a Mood Lifters program specifically for individuals with bipolar disorder and are launching a randomized control clinical trial.
The authors would like to thank Mood Lifters LLC for sharing the necessary data for this project, as well as the University of Michigan Eisenberg Family Depression Center and Psychology Department for supporting the research on Mood Lifters.
Declaration of interest: Authors CV and PD are co-owners of Mood Lifters LLC and may profit in the future from groups run by the company. No profits are made through research on Mood Lifters or from publications regarding Mood Lifters programing.
Pokowitz, E.L., Menzies, C., Votta, C., Ye, H., O’Donnell, L. and Deldin, P. (2023), "Pilot effectiveness trial of Mood Lifters for individuals who self-report bipolar disorder", Mental Health Review Journal, Vol. 28 No. 4, pp. 450-462. https://doi.org/10.1108/MHRJ-12-2022-0077
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