BBC News

Can film erase bipolar prejudice?

One of the films in the running for Best Picture at the Oscars this year is Silver Linings Playbook.

The film features a character who has bipolar disorder - the condition that affects people's moods.

It is being seen as another important step towards getting us all to understand and accept the fact that mental illness is a part of many people's lives

Shea Wong, who is bipolar herself, told the Today programme: "In the past, people with bipolar disorder were often treated as walking comedy and tragedy masks. They were either always up, or always down.

"It is systemic, it is a cultural systemic stigma. But we have to think of it in terms of getting past that. The mental health community is moving through a stage where we do have to educate the public and take that fear away. Once you can implant education, the fear is very quickly removed."

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme on Friday 1 February 2013.