Bipolar Youth Action Project: Starting Our Journey – Co-lead, Anna Graham

After meeting for dinner at our first group outing, it was time to take the plunge into a full day of training. We enjoyed learning the ins and outs of working as a team led by Eugenia from Mind Your Mind along with Klara and myself, the Lead Youth Researchers on the project. This was a fun and positive experience as we're working with an excellent group of people who are all eager to begin contributing to this project.

The Big Day

The day was segmented into presentations for the whole group, and lots of fantastic small group work. A great way to get everyone engaged and get to know each other better. One exercise that really helped create vision for the project was using a poster of a boat with water and logs, and filling it with our hopes, fears and ideas for the future of the project. It was an activity that allowed open communication and honest feedback as a way to clearly show the intentions everyone had and to paint a picture of what things will look like in the coming months. In the boat we saw what we'd be bringing to the project, our individual skills and ideas that would create the fuel to push us forward. Many people shared that they were looking forward to bringing forth their own personal experiences, and that sharing their stories would be a valuable way for them to contribute.

We also spent time looking at past projects, for example, musical presentations and informational sessions as a way to share insight into living with bipolar disorder. These past projects were shown to us to help us visualize the path our project might take, and it was exciting to see all of the possibilities that were offered to us.

Closing Thoughts

Our journey so far has been an exciting leap into opening a dialogue with like-minded people about the trials and tribulations of living with bipolar disorder. We have an excellent group that is focused and motivated to create change and tackle stigma and it is going to be amazing to be a part of as we grow, learn and pursue our vision.

Thank you to the Vancouver Foundation for their generous support.

By: Anna