Bipolar Disorder Early Assessment and Management (BEAM)

The BEAM program, modeled after our highly successful PREP program, reflects our belief that when we can identify and treat early signs of bipolar I, we can prevent the disease from becoming disabling.

BEAM is an innovative, evidence-based program developed by the Felton Institute to diagnose and treat bipolar disorder I, the more severe form of the disease. Like PREP, BEAM provides treatment to adolescents and young adults so they can learn manage their condition and move towards remission and recovery. Currently BEAM services are available at our San Francisco and San Mateo County PREP sites, with plans to expand to all five PREP program sites as funding becomes available.

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depression, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in a person’s mood, energy, and ability to function. Different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through, the symptoms of bipolar disorder are severe. Bipolar disorder is a debilitating illness that impacts many aspects of an individual’s life – their ability to follow through with education and employment goals, to have healthy relationships and a functional social life, and maintain overall physical and mental well-being.

Most people with bipolar disorder first experience symptoms in late adolescence or early adulthood, with half of all cases diagnosed before age 25. While about 1% of the general population is diagnosed with the most extreme form of the disease, bipolar I, as many as 6% fall along the bipolar disorders spectrum. Bipolar disorder is the 6th leading cause of disability in the world. Over half of individuals with bipolar disorder attempt suicide in their lifetime and many struggle to manage their day to day lives.

Despite these challenges there is hope. With early intervention and treatment, individuals can learn to manage their bipolar symptoms in a way that allows them to achieve their personal life goals, to form meaningful relationships, and live full lives.