Local Family Aims to Help Others with BiPolar Disorder

In 2004, Bill and Kathie Hollister lost their son Jason to suicide. Jason had suffered with Bipolar Disorder for quite some time. Wanting to help others who face similar struggles, the Hollister family established the Jason Hollister Memorial Fund in 2010 in memory of their beloved son.

The purpose of this fund is to financially assist families and individuals dealing with bipolar disease. “In 2004, there were very few medicines available to treat bipolar disease,” said Bill Hollister. “As the name implies, Bipolar is either up; where the person is feeling euphoric and they feel so great that they often choose to not take their medicine. Or, on the other end of the spectrum - especially when they skip their medicine as described above - they hit bottom harder and the ensuing depression is worse than normal.”

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a serious brain and behavioral disorder that’s characterized by severe changes in mood and energy. These changes in behavior, often referred to as “mood episodes,” are defined by the types of symptoms a person is experiencing: manic, depressive, or mixed. These changes are drastically different from a person’s usual behavior and affect a person’s ability to handle their day-to-day tasks.

Over 5.7 million adults in the United States have bipolar disorder, about 2.6% of the population. The most common age at which symptoms begin is 25. “People who suffer from bipolar disease are generally embarrassed of the disease and will not reach out for the ongoing help they need,” said Bill. “Then there are those who experience symptoms but do not realize that they are bipolar.”

Bill hopes the Jason Hollister Memorial Fund will help provide funds to those who require assistance identifying and treating the disorder. Through this fund, the Hollister family aims to help educate the community on recognizing the symptoms of bipolar disorder, which include extreme changes in energy, activity, sleep and mood. They also hope to break down the stigma of this disease so that individuals feeling more comfortable seeking the help they need.  

If you or someone you know suffers from bipolar disorder, the Jason Hollister Memorial Fund at the Marietta Community Foundation is here to help.