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2017 High School Essay Contest

About 60 million people worldwide have a brain disorder known as bipolar disorder or manic-depressive illness. Chances are someone you know has this mental illness or cares for someone who does. Learning about bipolar disorder can help you understand the impact this disease has on those affected by it so you can respond to them with care and sensitivity. 

Printable flyer available here


  • Open to all high school age youth (13-19)
  • Previous contest winners are not eligible to apply
  • Entries must be original work
  • Winners will be chosen by a panel of judges
  • Essays will become property of International Bipolar Foundation and will not be returned
  • Contestant agrees to allow International Bipolar Foundation to publicize essay
  • Prizes - 1st Place: $1,000 | 2nd Place: $500 | 3rd Place: $250

Topic: Notable Figures with Bipolar Disorder

Research a notable figure, past or present, with Bipolar Disorder and tell us how the illness affected their life, encouraged or hindered their success, and what lessons we can take away from their lived experience.

In 500-1,000 words, explain the research you did on the individual. Your notable figure can come from any walk of life, geographical location, or a positive or negative place in history. Please include your own personal insight into the lessons to be learned by the life of your notable figure.


  • Must be written in English
  • Times New Roman, 12 point font
  • Double spaced
  • 500-1000 words
  • Submit as a Word Document if possible
  • Submit using the form below (do not email your submission)
  • Deadline - Extended to November 8, 2017

Contact Information

For questions or difficulty with form contact:

  • Email:
  • Phone: 858-598-5967
  • Fax: (858) 598-5158
  • Mailing Address: 8755 Aero Dr, #310, San Diego, CA 92123

Submission Form

I pledge that this essay is my own work. I agree to abide by all guidelines and requirements of International Bipolar Foundation's (IBPF) Essay Contest. I understand that my essay will not be returned and will become the property of IBPF to use at its discretion. I understand that the judges' decisions are final.