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The Sean Costello Memorial Fund for Bipolar Research

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Health

Mission: Uniquely focused on the needs of musicians with bipolar disorder, we support and conduct research on bipolar disorder and creativity while promoting awareness, providing education, and serving as a resource for these musicians and their support systems in order to foster acceptance, functioning and health.

Target demographics: Musicians and other creative professionals with bipolar disorder. Because of Sean's celebrity, we have an international reach.Direct beneficiaries are those who have entered treatment due to our programs and education, as well as family members we have supported.Indirect beneficiaries are society as a whole. BD is the 6th cause of disability in the world (WHO), with the highest mortality of any psychiatric disorder.

Geographic areas served: We have done benefits in various US locations; however, our population and reach is international.To date, we have had 10 or more benefits in different cities in the US where educational information was available and BD and its comorbitites were addressed. Additionally, we funded research on the connection between bipolar disorder and creativity which was then presented at the IRB in Rome, April 2011, the largest conference on BD in the world. We also participated in a Community Consultation Day in Vancouver in partnership with the University of British Columbia.

Programs: Due to our international reach, we are primarily an internet based organization at ths time. We are seeking a grant for a documentary, an internet and mobile based application to monitor sleep (to prevent mania), and an educational symposium aimed at School Counselors and Nurses in the Atlanta area

Community Stories

24 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Sarah146

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Sean Costello Memorial Fund is devoted to spreading awareness about bipolar disorder in the creative community. This is a disease that is often overlooked and misunderstood, which makes the SCMF's mission that much more vital to the artistic population.

Tammy57

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I met Sean when he was so young his mother had to be in the club with him. His was a beautiful and extreme talent. It was devastating when he died so unexpectedly. I, like many others, had no idea he suffered from bipolar disorder. I'm very proud of the work of the Foundation in getting the word out and turning a very personal loss into something positive for so many. The Sean Costello Memorial Fund helps carry forward all the beautiful things about Sean and others affected by this disorder. He'll live forever in our hearts and through this project.

Board Member

Rating: 5

The SCMF is a great non-profit that works to bring attention and resources to a disease that is not understood and often inadequately treated. The Fund focuses an the creative professionals, a group more commonly impacted by bipolar disorder. By better understanding the understanding of the connection between creativity and bipolar disorder and by reducing the stigma, we will be able to better help those impacted by this mental health issue.

Mary223

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Sean Costello Memorial Fund cares greatly for the creative souls of all ages, races and socioeconomic groups who struggle with Bipolar and its consequences throughout our society. Their focus is on research, education, assistance, and better understanding as well as the eventual cure for the difficult disorder. Mary Fletcher, board member

Lauren63

Board Member

Rating: 5

The SCMF is a great non-profit that works hard to shed light on Bipolar Disorder, a disease that is way too often misunderstood. A better understanding of BD is crucial since it often takes up to 10 years to diagnose and in that time many lives are torn apart and even lost. While our main focus is on Bipolar Disorder and creativity our organization offers research, support and understanding to anyone who suffers from this devastating disease.

Board Member

Rating: 5

The SCMF works incredibly hard to bring the devastating effects of bipolar disorder on creative adults and children to light - also attempting to eradicate the stigma associated with mental illness. Research into this disorder is far overdue with it taking 7-10 years to diagnose. Although a young organization, The SMCF has already contributed outstanding research to the scientific community whilst providing support for those effected by this illness.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I feel this is a GREAT Nonprofit Organization and can help so many people who suffer from Bipolar Disorder. It is a scary disease that affects children and adults. I have a close friend who has this disorder, and so does her daughter, and my heart aches for the struggles they go through. I feel that more research is needed to help those who are confused, scared, and feeling helpless while dealing with Bipolar. I support the Sean Costello Memorial Fund for Bipolar Research and appreciate the efforts put forth to help others become aware of this disease.

Board Member

Rating: 5

This is a wonderful organization to serve. The unique population that we focus on aligns with my own interests in music, creativity and bipolar disorder. The organization's board is diverse, committed, and driven to fulfill its goals. The fundraising concerts and the Beautiful Minds series hosted by the SCMF always have a large turnout and make being part of this group rewarding.

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Sean Costello Memorial Fund for Bipolar Research fulfills a need that is too often ignored in our society: research, family support, and exploring the link between Bipolar and creativity. Too late diagnosed or too often misdiagnosed, Bipolar Disorder exacts a terrible toll not only on those who have it, but their friends and loved ones as well. The fund has made great strides in making connections between Bipolar and both sleep issues and creativity, crucial discoveries that will help the mental health community to diagnose and treat this disease earlier and more effectively.

Deborah S.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Bipolar Disorder affects 1 in 10 people, with a 10% higher incidence in the creative population. It takes 10 years to diagnose, and during that time, people self-medicate. Mania is a mood often associated with BD and it can be a deadly one. More research and education is needed to get help to people earlier. It is the highest rate of mortality of all psychiatric illnesses, with a 50% higher rate of successful suicide than the general population. Often, all the sufferer wants to do is sleep.

I know from correspondence that we have saved lives, and continue to foster communication about a disease shrouded in stigma. There is little in the way of grants or even insurance. There aren't large groups of people drawn to support of the disease because of the stigma. Sean was a wonderful, talented, sweet boy who died because of poor diagnosis and intervention. The unnecessary suffering must stop and that's what we aim to do.

I am proud to represent the Sean Costello Fund and spend many hours working towards the success of its mission.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Sean Costello Fund has opened the conversation about Bipolar Disorder and creativity with an international impact. Within two years of receiving its non-profit status, it has partnered with researchers from the US (Berkeley), Vancouver (U of British Columbia) and Australia (Swineburne U), resulting in a presentation at the IRBD in Rome in April of 2011. This area is fraught with suggestions, but little research which could result in much improved outcomes for this population. In addition to this, there have been benefits sponsored in Connecticut, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, just to name a few. Conversation is the beginning of stigma reduction.

Darlene L.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am so proud of the Sean Costello Fund for Bipolar Research for all the things that they are accomplishing, but the fact they are helping detach the stigma of mental illness and Bipolar Disorder is ground breaking. On my radio show when I play Sean's music I always mention the fund afterwards and have received so many calls, comments and thank you notes from people happy to hear me discuss the fund and what they do. People are thankful for the conversations that get started and information that is shared and that there is a drive to take the shame out of mental illness. Thank you SCF!

Rhetta A.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

For many of us with family members who suffer from Bi-Polar Disorder the world can be a frightening place full of misinformation and not enough support or real useful advice. The Sean Costello Memorial Fund for Biplar Research works hard to provide that information and to help the general public understand more about this disorder. in addition thet are actively involved with funding research and seeking methods for treating this troublimg and dangerous condition, especially for musicians and other creative people , They are truly a light for many in a dark place and their work may help to save the lives of some of our most talented people.

Kelli S.

Board Member

Rating: 5

The SCMF is working hard to research the connection between creativity and bipolar disorder as well as lessen the stigma associated with bipolar disorder. I enjoy volunteering with the SCMF and helping people in need. We have a lot of fun with our benefits and raise money to fund research. We are also working on Treatment in Tune, a program where we will be donating acoustic guitars to treatment centers so that musicians in treatment can continue to play. As long as this organization is around (which I hope is forever), I will be a part of it.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

I began as just a volunteer when this organization started after the death of Sean Costello, a friend of mine, in April 2008. After working with Sean's family, I became very involved in the Fund and found a passion for it. We are doing everything we can to research the connection between bipolar disorder and creativity and I think we are doing very well with our mission. I'm proud to be a part of the SCMF as an active board member and I hope to help the organization grow!

Greg V.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

While this is a cause that is personal in nature, I was able to donate my professional skills and create a online marketing campaign for the foundation and help to raise awareness through social media networking., I would like to thank Deb, and all those involved in this campaign for their support, assistance, and patience.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The SCMF is a nascent organization that aims to contribute to research on musicians with bipolar disorder and to improve their lives as well. The Executive Director and Board have tirelessly worked to gain recognition in both the musician advocacy and bipolar disorder research communities, and have made incredible strides in the few short years they've been in existence. They have a world-class Scientific Advisory Board, which speaks volumes about the professionalism of the organization, and I have no doubt that they will significantly contribute to research on and treatment of those creative individuals in our population who suffer from bipolar disorder.

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Sean Costello Memorial Fund to Benefit Bipolar Research is like the little engine that could! Despite its small size, it has helped to fund some ground-breaking research in the area of creativity and its relationship to bipolar disorder. By linking Sean's memory and the struggles he had with bipolar disorder, the fund has put a face on the pain and suffering this disorder causes both those who have been diagnosed with it and those who love them. While getting funding for the organization is always an uphill battle, with the dedication and tenacity of its founder, Debbie Costello Smith, and the support of its constituents, it is sure to be successful in its mission to to increase research for treatment of Bipolar Disorder, develop and support education for early diagnosis and intervention, and translate the human side of bipolar disorder and its severity to improve outcomes and resources, especially for those without insurance, targeting the musical community.

Eric Y.

Advisor

Rating: 5

I have been working with bipolar disorder for more than ten years, and serve as a scientific advisor for several international organizations. The Sean Costello Memorial Fund has accomplished a lot of good very quickly, and it is unique in its focus on helping people to learn to balance creativity and artistic success with treatment and lifestyle choices that will support the person best in the long term. I am inspired by the work that the fund is promoting, and with contributions I am confident that it will accomplish major breakthroughs in helping people to not only survive, but thrive.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Sean Costello was a masterful musician with whom I had the pleasure of working for several years. Shortly before his tragic passing, he was diagnosed with Bipolar Disease, and the memorial fund was established to ultimately try to help those who suffer from the same condition. The fund has been very diligent in pursuing advice from Bipolar disease experts, and it has promoted several musical events to raise money for this cause. It is quite gratifying to note the progress the fund has made towards its goal of raising awareness and understanding about the effects of Bipolar disease.

Riverside K.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I began volunteering at fundraiser events of the "Sean Costello Memorial Fund for Bi-Polar Disorder Research" two years ago. The determination and dedication of this organization to help raise awareness and fund research for Bi-Polar Disorder is quite impressive. It has become an honor for me to be affiliated with this group of people and I will continue to do what I can to support the SCMF for years to come.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering for the Sean Costello Memorial Fund to Benefit Bipolar Research is something I take very much to heart. I know/have known several people with bipolar disorder and it is such a debilitating illness. When I found out Sean had this disorder it just broke my heart. He was such a talented and well-loved young man. His music will live on forever.

Advisor

Rating: 5

The Sean Costello Fund is a unique organisation, driven by the motivation to improve the lives of musicians who have bipolar disorder. In its short existence, it has supported the development of a network of scientists and the general public who share this commitment. The Fund is well run, ethical and conscientious in its efforts to pursue its goals.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Sean was a good friend and mentor to my son Danny Michel, also a young guitar player. My husband Steve, also a guitar player, Danny and I loved taking trips to see Sean play whenever we could. I was in CA for my 50th birthday and was elated to find that he was there also...and had my party in Hermosa Beach CA with Sean and Co. We were devastated when we heard of Sean's untimely passing. I was confused since I had no idea that Sean was Bipolar. One of the most important things that I have learned is that my youngest daughter is Bipolar. Jessica is now 25. She has been through many things in her young life, including becoming a mother a age 15. We Though the last ten years she has been in many very violent relationships. It seemed to me she was over dramatic, spoiled and hard headed. She seemed to get what she wanted by backing people in the corner. As the years passed and she had another child, a few more relationships, more up and downs...she started to end up in life and death relationships. She had been to the medical doctors for her symptoms; sleeplessness, panic attacks and depression. Last year she could have lost her life three times. Once while arguing with a boyfriend, she slammed her car into a tree at 70 miles an hour. The next time she slit her wrists while arguing with a boyfriend. The last time she was on life support for two days after eating a handful of pills while arguing with a guy that she was dating, married after two weeks and broke up after a week....The nurse at the hospital talked to me for hours about what she believed to be my daughters problem, being Bipolar. She explained how when taking the wrong medicine a person will exaggerate the already high-highs and low-lows. Her brother had died of Bipolar related injuries. The nurse went on to explain that it was a disease just like diabetes...and she had no control. She explained the missing or messed up chemical imbalance-- I was in a situation where while I was looking at my beautiful young daughter in a hospital bed, with tubes going in and out all over her body....I felt like I finally got it...got her...I thought it would be easy from then on...get the right meds...but no...She didn't make her appointments, maybe the first one. She didn't like the meds. Which I have found out through information I read on the Sean Costello site, those with the high-highs, don't want to give them up. Jessica is very smart, creative, artistic and she has a beautiful soul. She still doesn't take her meds...she tends to medicate herself...on and off. She doesn't stay at a steady pace for very long. She lost a great job, lost her kids, and tends to love to be in love. I hope that Sean did not die in vane...that his memorial fund will help the many wonderful people out there that need our help!