Skip to main content

Self-Management and Bipolar Disorder–A Clinician’s Guide to the Literature 2011-2014


This review provides clinicians and individuals with bipolar disorder (BD) with an overview of evidence-based skills shown to be effective in BD and amenable to self-management including psychoeducation; monitoring moods, medications, and social function; sleep hygiene; setting goals and relapse plans; and healthy lifestyles (physical activity, healthy eating, weight loss and management, medical comorbidities). Currently available self-management resources for BD are summarized by mode of delivery (workbooks, mobile technologies, internet, and peer-led interventions). Regardless of the self-management intervention/topic, the research suggests that personally tailored interventions of longer duration and greater frequency may be necessary to achieve the maximal benefit among individuals with BD. Means to support these self-management interventions as self-sustaining identities are critically needed. Hopefully, the recent investment in patient-centered research and care will result in best practices for the self-management of BD by mode of delivery. Since self-management of BD should complement rather than replace medical care, clinicians need to partner with their patients to incorporate and support advances in self-management for individuals with BD.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

  1. 1.

    Lorig KR, Sobel DS, Stewart AL, Brown Jr BW, Bandura A, Ritter P, et al. Evidence suggesting that a chronic disease self-management program can improve health status while reducing hospitalization: a randomized trial. Med Care. 1999;37:5–14.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Draper P. Self or partnership management of bipolar disorder. BMJ. 2013;346.

  3. 3.

    Zaretsky A. Targeted psychosocial interventions for bipolar disorder. Bipolar Disord. 2004;5 Suppl 2:80–7.

    Google Scholar 

  4. 4.••

    Smith DJ, Griffiths E, Poole R, di Florio A, Barnes E, Kelly MJ, et al. Beating Bipolar: exploratory trial of a novel Internet-based psychoeducational treatment for bipolar disorder. Bipolar Disord. 2011;13(5–6):571–7. RCT to compare web-based psychoeducational intervention for bipolar disorder versus treatment as usual. Only modest improvements in psychological quality of life observed with Beating Bipolar. Potential to deliver Beating Bipolar remotely at relatively low cost.

  5. 5.

    Barnes E, Simpson S, Griffiths E, Hood K, Craddock N, Smith DJ. Developing an online psychoeducation package for bipolar disorder. J Ment Health. 2011;20:21–31.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Stafford N, Colom F. Purpose and effectiveness of psychoeducation in patients with bipolar disorder in a bipolar clinic setting. Acta Psychiatr Scand Suppl. 2013;442:11–8. doi:10.1111/acps.12118.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Skelly N, Schnittger RI, Butterly L, Frorath C, Morgan C, McLoughlin DM, et al. Quality of care in psychosis and bipolar disorder from the service user perspective. Qual Health Res. 2013;23:1672–85. doi:10.1177/1049732313509896.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Jorm AF. Mental health literacy: empowering the community to take action for better mental health. Am Psychol. 2012;67:231–43.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Lieberman DZ, Kelly TF, Douglas L, Goodwin FK. A randomized comparison of online and paper mood charts for people with bipolar disorder. J Affect Disord. 2010;124:85–9.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Frank E. Treating bipolar disorder: a clinician’s guide to Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy. New York: Guilford Press; 2007.

    Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Malliaris Y. MoodChart. Accessed 26 Mar 2014.

  12. 12.

    Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. Mood tracking personal calendar. Accessed 26 Mar 2014.

  13. 13.

    Bipolar Network News. Life charting for patients. Accessed 26 Mar 2014.

  14. 14.

    Black Dog Institute. Factsheets. 2014. Accessed 26 Mar 2014.

  15. 15.

    Lieberman DZ, Swayze S, Goodwin FK. An automated Internet application to help patients with bipolar disorder track social rhythm stabilization. Psychiatr Serv. 2011;62:1267–9.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Karam ZN, Provost EM, Singh S, Montgomery J, Archer C, Harrington G, et al. Ecologically valid long-term mood monitoring of individuals with bipolar disorder using speech. International Conference on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing; 2014; Florence, Italy.

  17. 17.•

    Kilbourne AM, Goodrich DE, Lai Z, Clogston J, Waxmonsky J, Bauer MS. Life Goals Collaborative Care for patients with bipolar disorder and cardiovascular disease risk. Psychiatr Serv. 2012;63:1234–8. RCT to compare life goals collaborative care (LGCC) versus enhanced usual care in individuals with BD with one or more cardiometabolic risk factors. Intervention (LGCC) delivered by master-trained health specialist. Only among individuals with BMI >30 or systolic blood pressure > 140 was LGCC associated with functional improvements and reduced depressive symptoms.

    PubMed Central  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Clarke S, Oades LG, Crowe TP. Recovery in mental health: a movement towards well-being and meaning in contrast to an avoidance of symptoms. Psychiatr Rehabil J. 2012;35:297–304.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.•

    Cook JA, Copeland ME, Jonikas JA, Hamilton MM, Razzano LA, Grey DD, et al. Results of a randomized controlled trial of mental illness self-management using Wellness Recovery Action Planning. Schizophr Bull. 2011;38:881–91. RCT to compare mental illness self-management intervention led by peers in recovery from serious mental illness compared to usual care (38%BD). Peer-delivered mental illness self-management training reduced psychiatric symptoms, enhanced participants’ hopefulness, and improved quality of life.

    PubMed Central  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Druss BG, Zhao L, von Esenwein SA, Bona JR, Fricks L, Jenkins-Tucker S, et al. The Health and Recovery Peer (HARP) Program: a peer-led intervention to improve medical self-management for persons with serious mental illness. Schizophr Res. 2010;118:264–70.

    PubMed Central  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    van der Voort TY, van Meijel B, Goossens PJ, Renes J, Beekman AT, Kupka RW. Collaborative care for patients with bipolar disorder: a randomised controlled trial. BMC Psychiatry. 2011;11:133.

    PubMed Central  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  22. 22.•

    Kilbourne AM, Li D, Lai Z, Waxmonsky J, Ketter T. Pilot randomized trial of a cross-diagnosis collaborative care program for patients with mood disorders. Depress Anxiety. 2012;30:116–22. doi:10.1002/da.2200310.1002/da.22003. RCT to compare mood disorder self-care program versus usual care for patients with mood disorders (37% BD). Greater improvement in depression remission and quality of life was observed for the self-care program delivered by clinicians.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    Kemp V. Use of ‘chronic disease self-management strategies’ in mental healthcare. Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2011;24(2):144–8.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    Janney CA, Fagiolini A, Swartz HA, Jakicic JM, Holleman RG, Richardson CR. Are adults with bipolar disorder active? Objectively measured physical activity and sedentary behavior using accelerometry. J Affect Disord. 2014;152–154:498–504.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  25. 25.

    Cairney J, Veldhuizen S, Faulkner G, Happitots A, Rodriguez C. Bipolar disorder and physical activity: results from a national survey of Canadians. Ment Health Phys Act. 2009;2:60–70.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. 26.

    Sylvia LG, Friedman ES, Kocsis JH, Bernstein EE, Brody BD, Kinrys G, et al. Association of exercise with quality of life and mood symptoms in a comparative effectiveness study of bipolar disorder. J Affect Disord. 2013;151:722–7.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  27. 27.

    Haskell WL, Lee IM, Pate RR, Powell KE, Blair SN, Franklin BA, et al. Physical activity and public health: updated recommendation for adults from the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2007;39:1423–34.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  28. 28.

    Kupfer DJ. The increasing medical burden in bipolar disorder. JAMA. 2005;293:2528–30.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  29. 29.

    Kilbourne AM, Cornelius JR, Han X, Pincus HA, Shad M, Salloum I, et al. Burden of general medical conditions among individuals with bipolar disorder. Bipolar Disord. 2004;6:368–73.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  30. 30.•

    Daumit GL, Dickerson FB, Wang NY, Dalcin A, Jerome GJ, Anderson CA, et al. A behavioral weight-loss intervention in persons with serious mental illness. N Engl J Med. 2013;368:1594–602. RCT to determine the effectiveness of 18-month tailored behavioral weight loss intervention versus controls among individuals with serious mental illness (22% BD). The behavioral weight-loss intervention delivered by clinicians resulted in significant progressive weight loss compared to the controls.

    CAS  PubMed Central  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  31. 31.•

    Bartels SJ, Pratt SI, Aschbrenner KA, Barre LK, Jue K, Wolfe RS, et al. Clinically significant improved fitness and weight loss among overweight persons with serious mental illness. Psychiatr Serv. 2013;64:729–36. RCT to compare the effectiveness of a fitness health mentor program versus fitness club membership and education among overweight and obese adults with serious mental illness (35% BD). Clinically significant improvements in cardiovascular risk but not weight loss or BMI among participants in the fitness health mentor program.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  32. 32.•

    Bartels S, Desilets R. Health promotion programs for people with serious mental illness: what works? A systematic review and analysis of the evidence base in published research literature on exercise and nutrition programs (Prepared by the Dartmouth Health Promotion Research Team). Washington D.C. SAMHSA-HRSA Center for Integrated Health Solutions. January 2012. A systematic review and analysis of the evidence base in published research literature (prior to 2012) on exercise and nutrition programs for individuals with serious mental illness.

  33. 33.•

    Kilbourne AM, Goodrich DE, Lai Z, Post EP, Schumacher K, Nord KM, et al. Randomized controlled trial to assess reduction of cardiovascular disease risk in patients with bipolar disorder: the Self-Management Addressing Heart Risk Trial (SMAHRT). J Clin Psychiatry. 2013;74:e655–62. RCT to compare Life Goals Collaborative Care (LGCC) versus enhanced usual care(UC) in the reduction of CDV risk factors in individuals with BD. Self-management intervention (LGCC) delivered by master-trained health specialist. Significant reductions observed in blood pressure and mania symptoms in LGCC versus UC.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  34. 34.•

    Frank E, Wallace ML, Hall M, Hasler B, Levenson JC, Janney CA et al. An integrated risk reduction intervention can reduce body mass index in individuals being treated for bipolar I disorder. Bipolar Disorders 2014. RCT to compare the effectiveness of 15 session healthy lifestyle intervention (psychoeducation, sleep hygiene, social rhythms, physical activity, healthy diet and weight loss, smoking cessation) versus enhanced usual care among overweight and obese individuals with BPI. The healthy lifestyle intervention was delivered by a health educator and resulted in modest health improvements compared to the usual care group.

  35. 35.

    Crump C, Sundquist K, Winkleby MA, Sundquist J. Comorbidities and mortality in bipolar disorder: a Swedish national cohort study. JAMA Psychiatry. 2013;70:931–9.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  36. 36.

    Fagiolini A, Chengappa KN, Soreca I, Chang J. Bipolar disorder and the metabolic syndrome: causal factors, psychiatric outcomes and economic burden. CNS Drugs. 2008;22:655–69.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  37. 37.

    Yatham LN, Kennedy SH, Parikh SV, Schaffer A, Beaulieu S, Alda M, et al. Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Treatments (CANMAT) and International Society for Bipolar Disorders (ISBD) collaborative update of CANMAT guidelines for the management of patients with bipolar disorder: update 2013. Bipolar Disord. 2013;15:1–44. doi:10.1111/bdi.1202510.1111/bdi.12025.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  38. 38.•

    Lorig K, Ritter PL, Pifer C, Werner P. Effectiveness of the chronic disease self-management program for persons with a serious mental illness: a translation study. Community Ment Health J. 2014;50:96–103. Evaluation study of the community based and peer-led Chronic Disease Self-Management Program for adults with serious mental illness (45% BD). Improvements in fatigue, quality of life, sleep, depression, health distress, and bad health days were observed.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  39. 39.

    Andersen PO, Babic A. Mobile-supported life charting for bipolar patients - user requirements study. Stud Health Technol Inform. 2013;192:1111.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  40. 40.

    Faurholt-Jepsen M, Vinberg M, Christensen EM, Frost M, Bardram J, Kessing LV. Daily electronic self-monitoring of subjective and objective symptoms in bipolar disorder--the MONARCA trial protocol (MONitoring, treAtment and pRediCtion of bipolAr disorder episodes): a randomised controlled single-blind trial. BMJ Open. 2013;3(7). doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2013-003353.

  41. 41.

    Aggarwal NK. Applying mobile technologies to mental health service delivery in South Asia. Asian J Psychiatry. 2012;5:225–30.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. 42.

    Depp CA, Kim DH, de Dios LV, Wang V, Ceglowski J. A pilot study of mood ratings captured by mobile phone versus paper-and-pencil mood charts in bipolar disorder. J Dual Diagn. 2012;8:326–32.

    PubMed Central  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  43. 43.

    Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. DBSA wellness tracker. Accessed 26 Mar 2014.

  44. 44.

    Bipolar Education Programme Cymru. Bipol-App: effective symptom monitoring for bipolar disorder. 2011. Accessed 26 Mar 2014.

  45. 45.

    Optimism Apps Pty Ltd. Optimism Apps. Accessed 26 Mar 2014.

  46. 46.

    USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. Supertracker. Accessed 24 Feb 2014.

  47. 47.

    Wright-Berryman JL, Salyers MP, O'Halloran JP, Kemp AS, Mueser KT, Diazoni AJ. Consumer and provider responses to a computerized version of the Illness Management and Recovery Program. Psychiatr Rehabil J. 2013;36:231–5. doi:10.1037/prj000000510.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  48. 48.

    Poole R, Simpson S, Smith D. Internet-based psychoeducation for bipolar disorder: a qualitative analysis of feasibility, acceptability and impact. BMC Psychiatry. 2012;12:139. http:/

    PubMed Central  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  49. 49.

    Bauer R, Bauer M, Spiessl H, Kagerbauer T. Cyber-support: an analysis of online self-help forums (online self-help forums in bipolar disorder). Nord J Psychiatry. 2013;67:185–90. doi:10.3109/08039488.2012.700734.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  50. 50.

    Gowen K, Deschaine M, Gruttadara D, Markey D. Young adults with mental health conditions and social networking websites: seeking tools to build community. Psychiatr Rehabil J. 2012;35:245–50. doi:10.2975/35.3.2012.245.250.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  51. 51.•

    Simon GE, Ludman EJ, Goodale LC, Dykstra DM, Stone E, Cutsogeorge D, et al. An online recovery plan program: can peer coaching increase participation? Psychiatr Serv. 2011;62:666–9. RCT to determine the effect of peer coaching on an online recovery program to promote self-management for bipolar disorder. Online peer coaching increased program engagement and retention.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  52. 52.•

    Proudfoot J, Parker G, Manicavasagar V, Hadzi-Pavlovic D, Whitton A, Nicholas J, et al. Effects of adjunctive peer support on perceptions of illness control and understanding in an online psychoeducation program for bipolar disorder: a randomised controlled trial. J Affect Disord. 2012;142:98–105. RCT to compare the effectiveness of completing an online psychoeducation program alone or with peer support for individuals with bipolar disorder. No significant differences were noted for symptoms or perceived control of BD between the 2 groups. Both groups experienced increased perceptions of control, decreased perceptions of stigmatisation, and significant improvements in anxiety and depression.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  53. 53.

    Todd NJ, Solis-Trapala I, Jones SH, Lobban FA. An online randomised controlled trial to assess the feasibility, acceptability and potential effectiveness of ‘Living with Bipolar’: a web-based self-management intervention for bipolar disorder: trial design and protocol. Contemp Clin Trials. 2012;33:679–88.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  54. 54.

    Lauder S, Chester A, Castle D, Dodd S, Berk L, Klein B, et al. Development of an online intervention for bipolar disorder. Psychol Health Med. 2012;18:155–65. doi:10.1080/13548506.2012.689840.

  55. 55.

    Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. Facing US. Accessed 02 June 2014.

  56. 56.

    MoodSwings Network. MoodSwings: an online self help program for bipolar disorder. Accessed 24 Feb 2014.

  57. 57.••

    Centre for Mental Health Research. beacon 2.0. Australian National University and AgileDigital Engineering. Accessed 16 May 2014. Beacon provides users with a comprehensive directory of e-health applications (websites, mobile applications and internet support groups) including reviews, expert ratings and user comments for various health conditions including BD. Beacon is an information resource only.

  58. 58.

    Christensen H, Murray K, Calear AL, Bennett K, Bennett A, Griffiths KM. Beacon: a web portal to high-quality mental health websites for use by health professionals and the public. Med J Aust. 2010;192(11):S40–4.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  59. 59.

    Phelps J. extensive mental health information on specific topics. 2013. Accessed 24 Feb 14.

  60. 60.

    Cook JA, Copeland ME, Corey L, Buffington E, Jonikas JA, Curtis LC, et al. Developing the evidence base for peer-led services: changes among participants following Wellness Recovery Action Planning (WRAP) education in two statewide initiatives. Psychiatr Rehabil J. 2010;34:113–20.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  61. 61.

    Blixen C, Perzynski A, Kanuch S, Dawson N, Kaiser D, Lawless ME, et al. Training peer educators to promote self-management skills in people with serious mental illness (SMI) and diabetes (DM) in a primary health care setting. Prim Health Care Res Dev. 2014:1–11. doi:10.1017/s1463423614000176.

  62. 62.•

    Goldberg RW, Dickerson F, Lucksted A, Brown CH, Weber E, Tenhula WN, et al. Living well: an intervention to improve self-management of medical illness for individuals with serious mental illness. Psychiatr Serv. 2013;64(1):51–7. doi:10.1176/ RCT to compare the effect of the peer-facilitated Living Well (modified version of the Chronic Disease Self-management Program) intervention versus usual care for individuals with SMI. Greater improvements in chronic physical health conditions, illness self-management techniques, function and well-being, and decreased use of emergency rooms for medical care for the Living Well versus usual care participants.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  63. 63.

    Sajatovic M, Dawson NV, Perzynski AT, Blixen CE, Bialko CS, McKibbin CL, et al. Best practices: optimizing care for people with serious mental illness and comorbid diabetes. Psychiatr Serv. 2011;62(9):1001–3. doi:10.1176/

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  64. 64.

    McGuire AB, Kukla M, Green A, Gilbride D, Mueser KT, Salyers MP. Illness management and recovery: a review of the literature. Psychiatr Serv. 2014;65(2):171–9. doi:10.1176/

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  65. 65.•

    Steigman PJ, Pickett SA, Diehl SM, Fox A, Grey DD, Shipley P, et al. Psychiatric symptoms moderate the effects of mental illness self-management in a randomized controlled trial. J Nerv Ment Dis. 2014;202(3):193–9. RCT to compare peer-led illness self-management intervention with usual care for outpatients with serious mental illness (40% BD).

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  66. 66.

    Pitt V, Lowe D, Hill S, Prictor M, Hetrick SE, Ryan R, et al. Consumer-providers of care for adult clients of statutory mental health services. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013;3, Art. No. CD004807. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD004807.pub2.

    Google Scholar 

  67. 67.

    Daniels A, Grant E, Filson B, Powell I, Fricks L, Goodale L. Pillars of peer support: transforming mental health systems of care through peer support services. 2010. Accessed 24 Mar 2014.

  68. 68.

    Eiken S, Campbell J. Medicaid coverage of peer support for people with mental illness: available research and state examples. Healthcare. Thomson Reuters. 2008. Accessed 07 Apr 2014.

  69. 69.

    Mueser KT, Meyer PS, Penn DL, Clancy R, Clancy DM, Salyers MP. The Illness Management and Recovery program: rationale, development, and preliminary findings. Schizophr Bull. 2006;32 Suppl 1:S32–43.

    PubMed Central  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  70. 70.

    Gingerich S, Mueser K. Illness Management and Recovery (IMR) An evidence-based practice that can benefit persons with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression. SSWLHC Newsl. 2008(November):2–8.

  71. 71.•

    Cook JA, Jonikas JA, Hamilton MM, Goldrick V, Steigman PJ, Grey DD, et al. Impact of wellness recovery action planning on service utilization and need in a randomized controlled trial. Psychiatr Rehabil J. 2013;36(4):250–7. RCT to compare mental illness self-management intervention led by peers in recovery from serious mental illness versus nutrition and education (31%BD).

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  72. 72.

    Garber-Epstein P, Zisman-Ilani Y, Levine S, Roe D. Comparative impact of professional mental health background on ratings of consumer outcome and fidelity in an Illness Management and Recovery program. Psychiatr Rehabil J. 2013;36:236–42.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  73. 73.

    Salerno A, Margolies P, Cleek A. Wellness self-management personal workbook (English and Spanish). New York State Office of Mental Health. 2008. Accessed 30 May 2014.

  74. 74.

    Murray G, Suto M, Hole R, Hale S, Amari E, Michalak EE. Self-management strategies used by ‘high functioning’ individuals with bipolar disorder: from research to clinical practice. Clin Psychol Psychother. 2011;18:95–109.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  75. 75.

    Todd NJ, Jones SH, Lobban FA. What do service users with bipolar disorder want from a web-based self-management intervention? A qualitative focus group study. Clin Psychol Psychother Psychol Psychother. 2012;20:531–43.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  76. 76.

    Todd NJ, Jones SH, Lobban FA. “Recovery” in bipolar disorder: how can service users be supported through a self-management intervention? A qualitative focus group study. J Ment Health. 2011;21:114–26.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  77. 77.

    Jones S, Deville M, Mayes D, Lobban F. Self-management in bipolar disorder: the story so far. J Ment Health. 2011;20:583–92.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  78. 78.

    Suto M, Murray G, Hale S, Amari E, Michalak EE. What works for people with bipolar disorder? Tips from the experts. J Affect Disord. 2010;124:76–84.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  79. 79.

    Mall S, Sibeko G, Temmingh H, Stein DJ, Milligan P, Lund C. Using a treatment partner and text messaging to improve adherence to psychotropic medication: a qualitative formative study of service users and caregivers in Cape Town, South Africa. Afr J Psychiatry. 2013;16:364–70.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  80. 80.

    Daggenvoorde TH, Goossens PJJ, Gamel CJ. Regained control: a phenomenological study of the use of a relapse prevention plan by patients with a bipolar disorder. Perspect Psychiatr Care. 2013;49(4):235–42.

    Google Scholar 

  81. 81.

    Tambuyzer E, Pieters G, Van Audenhove C. Patient involvement in mental health care: one size does not fit all. Health Expect. 2014;17(1):138–50.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  82. 82.

    Gammon D, Strand M, Eng LS. Service users’ perspectives in the design of an online tool for assisted self-help in mental health: a case study of implications. Int J Ment Health Syst. 2014;8(2).

  83. 83.

    Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA). SAMHSA’s working definition of recovery. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.USA. 2012. p. 3.

  84. 84.

    Woltmann E, Grogan-Kaylor A, Perron B, Georges H, Kilbourne AM, Bauer MS. Comparative effectiveness of collaborative chronic care models for mental health conditions across primary, specialty, and behavioral health care settings: systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Psychiatry. 2012;169:790–804.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  85. 85.•

    Pat Deegan PA, LLC., RECOVERYlibrary. Accessed 13 May 14. The Recovery Library provides the same resources, videos, materials, as CommonGround [101, 102] but is available to individuals for a minimal monthly fee.

  86. 86.

    Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices Accessed 24 Feb 14.

  87. 87.

    Barre LK, Ferron JC, Davis KE, Whitley R. Healthy eating in persons with serious mental illnesses: understanding and barriers. Psychiatr Rehabil J. 2011;34(4):304–10.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  88. 88.

    Daumit GL, Dickerson FB, Appel LJ. Weight loss in persons with serious mental illness. N Engl J Med. 2013;369:486–7.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  89. 89.

    Pagoto S, Lemon S, Whiteley J, for the Society of Behavioral Medicine. Weight loss in persons with serious mental illness. N Engl J Med. 2013;369:485–7.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  90. 90.

    Scott A, Wilson L. Valued identities and deficit identities: Wellness Recovery Action Planning and self-management in mental health. Nurs Inq. 2011;18:40–9.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  91. 91.••

    Mohr DC, Burns MN, Schueller SM, Clarke G, Klinkman M. Behavioral Intervention Technologies: evidence review and recommendations for future research in mental health. Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2013;35:332–8. An excellent review and recommendations article for behavioral intervention technologies in mental health. Technologies discussed include telephone, web-based, mobile technologies, social media, virtual reality, virtual humans, and gaming.

    PubMed Central  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  92. 92.

    McGovern M, Edelstein S. Living with co-occurring addiction and mental health disorders: a handbook for recovery. USA: Hazelden; 2009.

    Google Scholar 

  93. 93.

    Bauer MS, Kilbourne AM, Greenwald DE, Ludman EJ, McBride L. Overcoming bipolar disorder: a comprehensive workbook for managing your symptoms & achieving your life goals. Oakland: New Harbinger; 2008.

    Google Scholar 

  94. 94.

    Smith DJ, Young AH. Practical considerations for the development of a psychoeducation programme: lessons from the Cardiff experience. Acta Psychiatr Scand Suppl. 2013;442:25–8. doi:10.1111/acps.12121.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  95. 95.

    National Centre for Mental Health. Bipolar Education Programme Cymru. Accessed 02 June 2014.

  96. 96.

    bipolarUK. eCommunity - Online Support. Accessed 26 Mar 2014.

  97. 97.

    bipolarUK. Bipolar Information. Accessed 26 Mar 2014.

  98. 98.

    Beating Bipolar. 2014. Accessed 24 Feb 2014.

  99. 99.

    Black Dog Institute. Bipolar Disorder Education Program. Accessed 02 June 2014.

  100. 100.

    Black Dog Institute. Bipolar disorder treatments. 2013. Accessed 24 Feb 14.

  101. 101.•

    MacDonald-Wilson KL, Deegan PE, Hutchison SL, Parrotta N, Schuster JM. Integrating personal medicine into service delivery: empowering people in recovery. Psychiatr Rehabil J. 2013;36(4):258–63. Descriptive study of the use of CommonGround, a web-based application, to support illness management and recovery strategies in outpatient mental health service users (21% BD). Alternatively, RECOVERYLibrary [85] is available to individuals for a monthly fee and provides the same resources, videos, and materials as CommonGround.

  102. 102.

    Pat Deegan PhD & Associates L. CommonGround. Accessed 02 June 2014.

  103. 103.

    Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. Wellness options. Accessed 26 Mar 2014.

  104. 104.

    Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. Bipolar disorder. Accessed 26 Mar 2014.

  105. 105.

    healthdirect Australia. healthdirect Australia. Accessed 09 June 2014.

  106. 106.

    healthdirect Australia. Bipolar Disorder. Accessed 09 June 2014.

  107. 107.

    healthdirect Australia. Fitness & exercise. Accessed 09 June 2014.

  108. 108.

    healthdirect Australia. Healthy eating. Accessed 09 June 2014.

  109. 109.

    helathdirect Australia. Healthy living. Accessed 09 June 2014.

  110. 110. Bipolar disorder help guide. Accessed 26 Mar 14.

  111. 111.

    Mental Health America. Bipolar disorder. Accessed 26 Mar 2014.

  112. 112.

    Mental Health America. Living well. Accessed 26 Mar 2014.

  113. 113.

    Mental Health America. Complementary & alternative medicine for mental health conditions. Accessed 26 Mar 2014.

  114. 114.

    Australian National University Centre for Mental Health Research. MoodGYM. Accessed 26 Mar 2014.

  115. 115.

    MoodPanda. Accessed 24 Feb 2014.

  116. 116.

    Mood Swings Network. Groups and Workshops. Accessed 26 Mar 2014.

  117. 117.

    Mood Swings Network. PALS (People, Activities, Learning, Sharing). Accessed 26 Mar 2014.

  118. 118.

    National Alliance on Mental Illness. What is bipolar disorder? Accessed 26 Mar 2014.

  119. 119.

    National Alliance on Mental Illness. Coping strategies for bipolar disorder. Accessed 26 Mar 2014.

  120. 120.

    National Alliance on Mental Illness. NAMI hearts & mind. Accessed 26 Mar 2014.

  121. 121.

    National Institute of Mental Health. Bipolar disorder. Accessed 26 Mar 2014.

  122. 122.

    SANE Australia. Mind + body initiative. Accessed 26 Mar 2014.

  123. 123.

    Black Dog Institute. myCompass. Accessed 21 Apr 2014.

  124. 124.

    Mary Ellen Copeland. WRAP and recovery books. Accessed 09 June 2014.

  125. 125.

    Siantz E, Aranda MP. Chronic disease self-management interventions for adults with serious mental illness: a systematic review of the literature. Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2014;36(3):233–44.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  126. 126.

    Depression Bipolar Support Alliance. Peer support. Accessed 02 June 2014.

  127. 127.

    Behavioral Health Evolution. Double trouble in recovery. 2014. Accessed 24 Feb 14.

  128. 128.

    Dual Recovery Anonymous World Network. Dual recovery anonymous Accessed 02 June 14.

  129. 129.

    McGuire AB, Kukla M, Green A, Gilbride D, Mueser KT, Salyers MP. Illness management and recovery: a review of the literature. Psychiatr Serv. 2013;65:171–9. doi:10.1176/

    Article  Google Scholar 

  130. 130.

    National Alliance on Mental Illness. BRIDGES: building recovery of individual dreams and goals through education and support. Accessed 09 June 2014.

  131. 131.

    National Alliance on Mental Illness. NAMI Peer-to-Peer. Accessed 26 Mar 2014.

  132. 132.

    National Alliance on Mental Illness. Strength of US. Accessed 26 Mar 2014.

Download references


CAJ was supported by the VA Center for Clinical Management Research, Health Services Research and Development as a post-doctoral fellow at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System.


This review does not attempt to be an exhaustive review of the resources pertaining to self-management and bipolar disorder. We have included specific resources to provide a sense of the breadth and focus of available resources currently available on the topic of self-management and bipolar disorder. Our inclusion/exclusion of specific resources should not be considered an endorsement or lack of endorsement of any particular resource pertaining to self-management and bipolar disorder.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Compliance with Ethics Guidelines

Conflict of Interest

Carol A. Janney has received grants from Actigraph, Inc., and Charles F. Kline to study physical activity in bipolar disorder.

Mark S. Bauer and Amy M. Kilbourne have received royalty payments from Springer Publishing and New Harbinger Publishing.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Carol A. Janney.

Additional information

This article is part of the Topical Collection on Complex Medical-Psychiatric Issues



Table 2 Websites associated with currently available self-management programs for bipolar disorder

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Janney, C.A., Bauer, M.S. & Kilbourne, A.M. Self-Management and Bipolar Disorder–A Clinician’s Guide to the Literature 2011-2014. Curr Psychiatry Rep 16, 485 (2014).

Download citation


  • Self-management
  • Bipolar
  • Peer-led
  • Physical activity
  • Weight loss
  • Mobile technologies