To educate families, professionals, and the public about pediatric bipolar disorder; to connect families with resources and support; to advocate for and empower affected families; and to support research on pediatric bipolar disorder and its cure.
In 1999, Martha Hellander, who chaired an online parent support group in Illinois, convened a steering committee meeting of twenty parents of bipolar children, entirely online, that culminated in the incorporation of the Child & Adolescent Bipolar Foundation. Its founding came at a time when information about children with the disorder was scarce and often out of date. Parents had to travel to scientific meetings to learn about current research or attend lectures by the few doctors who believed bipolar disorder actually occurred in children. The organization's membership now approaches thirty thousand, with twenty-eight online support groups and seventeen message boards run by parent volunteers, served by a paid staff of eight.
Outstanding Web Features:
The most valuable service the CABF Web site offers is connecting parents to other parents so they can share information and support one another. It does this through online support groups; a directory of in-person support groups, listed by state, Canadian province, or geographic area; message boards; and chat rooms (for members only, but families can join for free). The site also provides samples of mood charts; downloadable materials for educators, families, and children; information about clinical trials and state resources; audio and video presentations; and links to suicide hotlines.