An Inspiring Journey Through the Bipolar Youth Action Project

I am excited as things progress with the Bipolar Youth Action Project (BYAP); you may wonder what is this project all about anyway? Well, CREST.BD, a research network situated out of the University of British Columbia and the Bipolar Disorder Society of BC (BDSBC) have teamed up to make innovative and unique magic! Erin Michalak is the co-lead researcher on the project and Sally McBride is the Knowledge Translation Manager.

We are hiring peer researchers to form two Youth Action Groups (YAGs) who are 19-25 years that have bipolar disorder to research self-management strategies on how to stay well living with bipolar disorder. They will use this data to not only help themselves, but spread the word into the larger bipolar youth community. We have two planned pods of researchers, six in Victoria, BC and the another six in the Comox/Campbell River, Courtenay areas. We also plan to create two research forums that will be designed by the youth themselves. For more information about the BYAP please visit the following link: http://bipolarbabe.com/bipolar-youth-action-project

I am writing this blog to express how I have been feeling about the project and to share progress on the BYAP. Subsequent to creating two monster databases for the project of medical professionals, I was eager to begin and now recruitment is in full swing. My newly found relationship with CREST.BD has been an exemplary example of how to build a foundation for a solid working relationship. Nusha Elliot and I have been recruiting in the two designated areas and working closely together to ensure we have the young adults we need to make the project a success. We have been contacting a great number of relevant community organizations to share the project and in Victoria we already have three super star submissions for the YAGs! They are all current or past participants of the Teens2Twenties peer support group created by the BDSBC. We have an additional four young adults that have committed to submitting applications by mid-August and they are amazing individuals.

The most exciting part of the project has been connecting with the potential participants and sharing my excitement with them on a personal level. Many have expressed their desire to take on the project over a two-year term for their own reasons such as stomping out stigma, building their resume, helping other people stay well, express their creativity, and most of all be a part of something meaningful. The BYAP has captured my heart and I will do everything in my power to see it be successful by effectively working with CREST.BD and dedicating myself to the youth that have been chosen as the YAGs. It is my personal privilege to have them learn from us, but more importantly learn from them. As we move forward, I have nothing but great hope for all the hard work we have invested so far; the results will no doubt help many youth with bipolar disorder, which has always been my life’s vision and mission. This project is enriching my life and I am so grateful for all the people who are making this project happen. Thank you! heart

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