BEAM stands for Bipolar Disorder Early Assessment and Management

Bipolar Disorder Early Assessment and Management (BEAM) is a new and innovative, evidence-based program developed by the Felton Institute to diagnose and treat bipolar disorder I. 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 is available in San Francisco and San Mateo Counties, with plans to expand to all five PREP program sites by 2015.

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.

How is BEAM Funded?

In San Francisco, BEAM is currently funded by the Metta Fund (serving San Francisco residents only), the Margoes Foundation, Macy’s, the Mae Bogartsky Esky Trust at the San Francisco Foundation.

In San Mateo, BEAM is funded by the San Mateo Behavioral Health Recovery Services.