View Royal’s Andrea Paquette

Youth with bipolar sought for research

Next bipolar forum takes place July 12 at the Victoria Event Centre

The Bipolar Babe is looking for youth with bipolar disorder.

Bipolar Disorder Society of BC executive director Andrea Paquette is looking for Greater Victoria-based youth between the ages of 16 and 25 and living with bipolar disorder to share knowledge and expertise at two upcoming research forums.

Funded by a $159,000 Vancouver Foundation research grant in 2014, Paquette, a View Royal resident also known as the Bipolar Babe, said she was extremely excited to be working with youth peer researchers in the second year of the Bipolar Youth Action Project.

“We want to make an immense and long-lasting impact on the lives of youth living with bipolar disorder,” Paquette said.

“Self-management research among youth with bipolar is untouched and we want to uncover findings to help as many youth as possible.”

The project seeks youth engagement and is inviting youth to share stories while attending creative workshops and meet other youth living with bipolar at forums, the first of which takes place July 12 at the Victoria Event Centre, at 1415 Broad St. in Victoria.

Paquette has been a long-time advocate for those with mental health disorders, having been diagnosed with bipolar herself. In 2014 she set up a Bipolar Support Group on the West Shore to support those living with the mental illness.

“Often youth feel alone, isolated and confused, but with our Bipolar Youth Action Project Research Forum, we intend to both create personal connections among youth aged 16 to 25 who have bipolar from all over Vancouver Island and put them at the forefront as mental health experts who have valuable insight to share.”

This is the second year of the two-year grant from Vancouver Foundation and Paquette said research work will not only be informative, but also continue to reduce stigma.

The grant will also provide an opportunity to share findings with the community, doctors, families and other youth.

The second forum is currently scheduled for the fall but no date has been set.

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