We all say how important youth are, how vital their participation is, and see value in their contribution. In light of this, the Bipolar Disorder Society of BCs (BDSBC) – Bipolar Babe project (www.bipolarbabe.com) recognizes that we all need to be paying more attention to younger generations affected by bipolar disorder.
The research team at CREST.BD (crestbd.ca) and BDSBC have joined forces to develop a grant proposal called the BIPOLAR YOUTH ACTION PROJECT submitted to the Vancouver Foundation. The project will engage youth who live with bipolar in order to develop research skills and study alongside their peers.
What does this mean? We plan to first launch a pilot project for the grant and we have invited six bright youth with bipolar disorder to participate in a 1.5 hour session to brainstorm ideas on how they and others can stay well while living with bipolar disorder.
They may pose questions such as:
– what techniques do you use to stay well with BD?
– do you think any of these techniques are particularly useful for people in your age range?
– do youth face particular problems in terms of staying well with BD compared to adults?
– what's the best way to share information about how to stay well with BD with other youth with BD?
As someone who has struggled with bipolar, I realize how important such a project is. I have experienced serious bouts of psychosis, mania and depression and my hope in life is not to have others suffer as I have. We all need to find ways to stay well, especially our youth that live with bipolar disorder.
There are additional benefits to creating a youth based project such as the Bipolar Youth Action Project: not only do youth gain the opportunity to become researchers themselves, but relationships will be formed and peer support circles created along the way, up and down Vancouver Island. The youth, while brainstorming answers regarding wellness from their own research, will also be working in a supportive and motivating environment.
The space that CREST BD and BDSBC are planning to create will allow youth to express their research findings and have them apply their knowledge through multiple avenues, according to their needs and the needs of their peers. The goal for our two organizations is to create a unique and valuable experience and encourage the wellness of youth living with bipolar disorder.
It’s a significant win for everyone and thank you to the wonderful youth who have agreed to participate in our pilot project component of the project this August 2013, you are making bipolar youth history!