Andrea Paquette, President, Stigma-Free Society is a Presenter for the Stigma-Free Zone Classroom and Community Presentations Program. Andrea is an experienced Speaker, Presenter, and Facilitator who lives well with bipolar disorder. She holds a double major degree and has worked for the BC government in the areas of mental health and addictions, social development and education. She is certified in Mental Health First Aid and ASIST Suicide Prevention. She has also been trained and certified in the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s Mental Health First Aid course.
Andrea has also been chosen as a national spokesperson for the Canadian Alliance for Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH) sponsored by Bell Let’s Talk. She is named the Provincial 2015 Courage To Come Back award winner given by Coast Mental Health, received the 2015 Top 20 Under 40 Award from Vancouver Island’s Business and Community Awards, 2013 Mel Cooper Citizen of the Year Award in Victoria, British Columbia, and the 2013 Award for Mentorship from the National Council for Behavioral Health, Washington, D.C.
Carol’s world tragically changed when her beloved daughter Amanda took her life after a struggle as a victim of cyberbullying, online exploitation (sextortion) and ultimately, mental unwellness as a result of the traumatic events in her short life. Through the pain of losing her daughter, Carol courageously took a stand and shared Amanda’s story with her community and the world. Little did she know she would soon be thrust in to the spotlight as a global advocate sharing the voice of her beloved daughter and increasing awareness of bullying in all forms and mental health issues in our young people.
Carol has channeled her grief and professional skills as an educator to become a voice of change. In honour of her daughter, Carol founded the Amanda Todd Legacy Society, which is focused on building awareness and improving the well-being of individuals with respect to bullying, cyber abuse, internet safety and mental wellness. As a result of her courage, determination and ultimately the love of her daughter, Carol has become one of the world’s most innovative leaders in the fight for online safety for children. Carol believes in working hard for a change, and has become a true example of the unwavering human spirit though her fight to end bullying and the stigma regarding mental health in youth.
Dr. Chris G Richardson is currently an Associate Professor in the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia. His program of research is focused on examining the relationships between aspects of biopsychosocial development in adolescence (e.g., impulsivity, sensation seeking, resilience) and patterns of tobacco, alcohol, marijuana and other drug use. He is also a Scientist with the Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcomes Sciences at St. Paul’s Hospital and research lead for the Inner City Youth Program (see http://mh.providencehealthcare.org/programs/inner-city-youth) where he works with a team of mental health clinicians to examine the impact of mental illness, substance use and homelessness on the psycho-social functioning of youth and young adults. In addition to his academic experience, Dr. Richardson has spent several years as a frontline worker in a variety of group home settings for homeless men and has served a member of the board of directors for From Grief to Action – a non-profit group providing support and advocacy for families dealing with a loved one’s addiction.
Madeleine Clarkson is the Communications and Programs Manager for Stigma-Free Society, specifically for the Charity’s new and developing programming. She graduated Simon Fraser University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in French with a Concentration for Prospective Teachers and is also trained and certified in Mental Health First Aid. Passionate about working with youth, she plans to pursue a career in the fields of psychology and education, and work within the mental health community to help spread awareness and reduce stigma. Madeleine has lived experience with mental illness, having been diagnosed with Bipolar 1 Disorder when she was 14 years old. She shares her experiences and strategies for maintaining her mental well-being through her work with the Stigma-Free Society, while developing useful resources for the community and building meaningful partnerships with other organizations. She hopes that her contributions to the Stigma-Free Society will help reduce stigma around mental illness, especially for young people like herself.
Dana Wasserman, Psy.D., R. Psych.
Dr. Dana Wasserman is a registered psychologist in Vancouver, BC who currently does work seeing clients for the Vancouver Association for Survivors of Torture. In the past Dr. Wasserman has had her own private practice, worked with clients who are on disability, worked with the severely and chronically mentally ill, and had her post-doctoral fellowship working in a child mental health clinic. Aside from her clinical work, Dr. Wasserman reached out to the Stigma-Free-Society when she was diagnosed with her own mental illness and felt the stigma that so many of her clients had experienced. Dr. Wasserman is very excited to volunteer on projects for the Stigma-Free Society and putting her knowledge to use. She enjoys her husband and children, spending time going on walks on the sea wall, and trying to finish every book she starts.
Daniel is the Surrey District Representative for Mental Health and Wellness Programming and he serves on Interagency/Intergovernmental Committees for programs dealing with students with mental health issues. He also oversees programs for youth at risk, vulnerable youth, students with mental health issues, and Summer Learning. He is also an Instructor at Trinity Western University in the Master of Arts in Leadership Program.
“Most importantly, I am the proud father of 2 awesome kids and have the best life partner anyone could ever have.”