Vancouver Foundation Gives Major Grant to BDSBC and CREST BD for the 'Bipolar Youth Action Project'

BDSBC is thrilled to share great news just in time for the holidays! Team member at CREST BD, Dr. Erin Michalak, in partnership with Andrea Paquette, Executive Director of the Bipolar Disorder Society of British Columbia (BDSBC), has received funding from the Vancouver Foundation’s Health and Medical Education/Research Grants for a study entitled, The Bipolar Youth Action Project’. This is a two-year community action project designed to build knowledge about how youth living with bipolar disorder live well with the condition, and at the same time build capacity for youth to engage in participatory mental health research. The project was catalysted by the dissatisfaction voiced by youth living with the condition in BC. Youth living with bipolar disorder, in two Vancouver Island communities, will be integral to every stage of the research. To date, the team has consulted with youth to develop research methods, and has established a preliminary ‘Youth Action Group’. Knowledge gained from this project will inform the development of appropriate resources to support youth self-management, leading to enhanced capacity for self-care in this vulnerable community.

This is an exciting step for us at multiple levels. Firstly, the knowledge the project will produce will fill an important gap in the bipolar disorders scientific literature. Secondly, it will allow CREST.BD and the BDSBC to fully articulate their fledgling collaboration and unite to fill the knowledge gap around effective wellness strategies for youth with bipolar disorders. Thirdly, it will support the development of new relationships (between clinicians, community groups and community activists alike) within the mental health community on Vancouver Island. Most exciting of all, however, is the potential for the study to produce real-world findings on effective wellness strategies for youth facing mental health challenges.

Study co-applicants include, Drs. Joanna Cheek, CREST.BD researcher and Co-Lead of Mood and Anxiety Program at the University of Victoria, and Wei-Yi Song, Director of the Mood Disorders Services for the Vancouver Island Health Authority, South Island. This funding would not be possible without support from the Mood Disorders Association of BC, The Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre, along with numerous youth, peer support workers, community advocates and researchers on Vancouver Island.

Our vision is to bring youth with bipolar disorder together and provide several venues for youth to collaborate, connect, and perform research to share their knowledge on personal wellness with the guidance of BDSBC and CREST.BD. We’re ready to ‘hit the ground running’ and leave a legacy of sustainable community change.