Simply the B.E.S.T.

I attended a Quality of Life Community Engagement Day in Vancouver a few weeks ago with CREST BD. We were discussing assessing wellbeing via the web.

They shared the most interesting ‘tool’ called the BiQoL scale which is an online questionnaire to empower people with bipolar disorder to manage and improve their health.

We assembled into focus groups and discussed the BiQoL scale and my first opinion was that the name needed to be changed to B.E.S.T – Bipolar Empowerment Survey Tool.  I thought this was the ‘best’ name as CREST BD even used the word ‘empower’ to describe the BiQoL scale and it got me thinking what it meant for younger people.  (I will call the BiQoL scale B.E.S.T for the purpose of my blog.)

Youth are tech savvy and ought to be contributing to the development of the B.E.S.T.  Youth know what appeals to the tech savvy population, what options to highlight and how best to design an online platform for other youth who are indeed the techy generation.  Youth are more inclined to sit down at the computer for a mere ten minutes and assess their well-being rather than sit in a doctor’s office with a pencil and paper for a half an hour.  Results are tabulated instantly and we all know how our Y generation love to have things fast! 

Bipolar disorder generally has an onset between the ages of 18-25 and the B.E.S.T may be useful in having youth who are not diagnosed think about their health and consider potential symptoms by taking the questionnaire.  The B.E.S.T is not necessarily a tool to diagnose mental illness but is definitely something that gets people thinking about and assessing their mental health and this is a positive and powerful component of the B.E.S.T.  Young people are curious and they are inclined to take a variety of tests or questionnaires when they are online, so what an amazing opportunity to be able to take the B.E.S.T and benefit them in their assessment of their mental health and have fun at the same time!  B.E.S.T could potentially have a very positive and significant impact on youth because it is assessing things such as sleep, nutrition, mood, and social interactions.  Even if youth do not have a mental illness it brings these important items to the forefront, questioning their relevance and the impact that they play in their lives.  We all know that these types of facets are important, but rarely are we reminded at the B.E.S.T of times.  Lastly, this tool reminds us that we not only need to take care of ourselves now but we need to pay attention to our mental health and monitor it while using the B.E.S.T and returning to it to evaluate how we are doing over a longer period of time.

The B.E.S.T is an innovative and amazing tool that is ground breaking for our youth and all alike and will no doubt make a difference for those wanting to be empowered in the journey of exploring, monitoring and managing their mental health.