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General News, Mental Health

What do 692,000 Australians have in common with Vincent Van Gogh?

SANE Australia 2 mins read

People with bipolar disorder can experience periods of mania (extreme highs) and serious depression (extreme lows), sometimes cycling rapidly between them. Impacting men and women equally, bipolar symptoms usually appear in late adolescence and continue throughout life.

Artist Vincent Van Gogh was posthumously diagnosed with bipolar disorder following self-reported struggles with ‘melancholy’ and an intense ‘fury of work’. Sadly, Van Gogh died by suicide at the age of 37.

Just as van Gogh's struggles were once misunderstood and misrepresented, inaccurate and harmful representation of people with bipolar as either ‘bad or mad’ leads to discrimination, shame and social isolation. These barriers hinder individuals from seeking the support they need.

With appropriate treatment and support, people with bipolar disorder live the same lives as everyone else. By providing access to resources and support, we can empower individuals to effectively manage their condition and thrive in their personal and professional lives.

This World Bipolar Day, our aim is to promote understanding and empathy towards bipolar disorder. We encourage everyone to take the time to learn more about the condition and the experiences of those living with it.

If you or someone you know is showing symptoms of bipolar disorder, know that support is available. Explore the resources and services provided by SANE Australia for guidance and assistance at

Key Facts:

- March 30 is World Bipolar Disorder Day.

- Bipolar disorder affects 1 in 50 people, or around 692,000 Australians.

- Vincent Van Gogh had bipolar disorder and this likely drove both his intense bursts of creativity and his struggles with depression.

- With appropriate treatment, people with bipolar disorder can lead the same lives as everyone else.

- SANE Australia provides free support services and resources for people with bipolar disorder at 


About us:

SANE is the leading national mental health organisation for the millions of Australians impacted by persistent, recurring or complex mental ill health and trauma. SANE is working towards ending mental health inequality, reducing discrimination and exclusion and improving quality of life through the provision of quality digital and phone counselling, peer support services, arts programming and services, and advocacy and research programs. Led by the voices of lived experience, SANE supports individuals, families and communities on their journey to recovery by addressing mental ill health as well assisting with social supports such as housing, poverty and disabilities. Learn more at  

Contact details:

For interviews or more information, please contact or 0407 958 920

Video interviews with Dov and Arlene who live with bipolar disorder can be found here  



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