I think its a tricky situation (coming out as bipolar).
I can understand Stephen's thoughts. I think in an ideal world it can be good for your self-esteem to be honest about who you are. And as he said, his career allows him to be open. And because of the high level of respect that he has gained within that career, people respect his opinion, like him as a person and a character. And since he already had experience of coming out as gay, he probably knew some of the issues and difficulties involved first hand (although obviously there are differences between the two situations as well).
To me it feels like we are currently in a state of flux concerning public attitudes to mental health. I think for people's perceptions to change it is a very gradual thing. Just to give a comparison, my dad had epilepsy and trained to be a priest in the 70s. The church's view was that epilepsy was a sign of being possessed by the devil and so didn't let him be ordained. Now, I don't think he would face the same prejudice. Other members of my family have physical disabilities and they have experienced similar amounts of prejudice, and work hard to change people's ideas. However, I personally think it is unrealistic for this to happen over night.
I know one teacher in an MDF group who was made redundant because he came out and said he had bipolar. I think it was mixed up in personality clashes and an argument, and it was brought out when he was suffering so i think it was used as an excuse to say he was not fit to work with children.
But there is another teacher on the MDF forum (you might like to talk with her) who's school seems to be quite understanding. They have given her 6 months paid sick leave. But its a very tricky situation.
Have you "come out" to your own friends, family, acquaintances? I would be inclined to do that before coming out to work.
There is someone on this forum who got the sack because the agency she was working for found out. So it is a risky situation.
In one way I would like to be able to be more open about it. But in another way, there is too much to lose. And there are plenty of people I can talk to about it. Someone said to me, its a personal issue, you don't have to tell everyone about it. I think there is no right or wrong answer. Just got to figure out what are your motives and intentions for wanting to say something. What do you hope will happen? (Is there any other way of getting what you want to happen anyway, without giving away all details.)
It is sad in a way to have to live a double life, and hopefully things will change. I am sure they will. It just takes time. And which is why it is so important that respected popular people like Stephen are brave enough to talk about these things in public. So that people can hear them from someone they already like and respect, and hopefully slowly things will change. There are laws in place, but realistically it takes a while for attitudes to change.
I just hope there will not be a culture of "outing" people. For anyone suffering from mental distress, this is the last thing anyone needs, even if they appear to be outwardly successful. But maybe this won't happen.
I hope to move into a career where I can be more open and myself. But again, that's not going to happen over night. There's enough to do just struggling to manage going to work and keep things going.
Anyway, that was a long post, but hope some its of some help.