This ‘Bipolar Babe’ Stomps Out Stigma With Storytelling

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A bright pink t-shirt with the words “Bipolar Babe” on the front has led to a movement to stomp out stigmas that allow negative attitudes and perceptions of people with differences to persist.

Andrea Paquette, 41, of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada made the t-shirt nearly a decade ago to overcome feelings of shame related to her diagnosis of bipolar disorder. The move was part of an empowerment strategy she devised after recovering from a suicide attempt.

Meet the Bipolar Babe

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After years of struggling with bipolar disorder, Andrea Paquette (aka the Bipolar Babe) started on a personal journey to remove the stigmas surrounding mental health disorders. Her own story included mania, depression, psychosis, and a suicide attempt – subjects that are often judged harshly by society.

What started out as something very personal soon gained support and Andrea realized her dream of sharing her story in classrooms. She became passionate about educating youth in her community about mental health stigmas and how they affect people’s perception of themselves and others. Ultimately, this all led her to create the Bipolar Disorder Society of BC in 2010.

Courage to Come Back: ‘Bipolar Babe’ Andrea Paquette has come a long way from depths of her illness

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Andrea Paquette’s untreated bipolar disorder had her imagining herself as Canada’s prime minister before plunging her to the depths of being unable to even take a shower and then swallowing a bottle of pills to try to kill herself.

Those and other experiences since she was diagnosed 13 years ago are all part of the Victoria woman’s journey to become someone who thrives while managing her illness and shows others how they can, too.

B.C. mental health toolkit aims to ease the transition back into school amid COVID-19

With most students in B.C. returning to class this week amid a fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Stigma-Free Society is offering up a mental health toolkit to help ease the transition.

The toolkit is an online resource available not only to students, but to educators, school counselors, as well as parents and guardians.

“What we do at the Stigma-Free Society toolkit is we offer various downloadable resources, lesson plans, and tons of information just to help people stay mentally well,” explained society President Andrea Paquette. “It’s a pretty innovative and amazing way to create social, emotional learning for these young people, and help them manage their mental health.”

This New West woman helps youth cope with COVID-19 and mental health

The Stigma-Free Society has created a toolkit to help youth cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Stigma-Free Covid-19 Youth Wellness Toolkit includes resources for youth and parents, including  inspiring stories, activities, resources, a video library (topics such as practical steps for saying positive during COVID-19, how to school from home, sleep and family mental health) and links to various COVID-19 related sites.

We Can All Live Extraordinary Lives: Unsinkable Andrea Paquette Feature

My name is Andrea and I am known as the Bipolar Babe. It is quite a story how I earned this catchy nickname and it began in 2004. My past personal challenges always lay at the forefront of my mind and they form a story that I will tell others for the rest of my life in hopes that they will find something in it that will encourage them to move forward. I want people to be assured that the most difficult of times will always turn around, and no situation is ever hopeless.

At the age of 25, I arrived in Ottawa, ON, with my political science degree in hand, to pursue a dream of working in the House of Commons to make a difference on the political stage for my country. However, it was not a dream job and a dream life that found me in Ottawa, it was actually bipolar disorder.

Surrey Schools pilots ‘stigma-free toolkit’ amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Surrey school district is the first in Canada to pilot Stigma-Free Society’s new online COVID-19 toolkit.

The resource is aimed at students in grades 4 to 12, as well as parents and educators, to address youth wellness during the pandemic.

According to the district, it was developed with mental health experts, professors and psychologists.

Surrey School District pilots COVID-19 youth wellness toolkit

Surrey Schools is the first school district in Canada to pilot a new online resource for Grade 4-12 students and their parents addressing youth wellness during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In collaboration with the Stigma-Free Society, the district is working with the charity to offer the Stigma-Free COVID-19 Youth Wellness Toolkit, an online community-based participatory program to promote mental wellness.

B.C. mental health advocate seeks LGBTQ teens to share their stories of resilience

The Stigma-Free Society is seeking youth in the LGBTQ2S+ community to share their stories in overcoming stigma, which will be a part of a video library in their new Online Stigma-Free Toolkit upcoming in 2020.

Andrea Paquette, Stigma-Free Society, President, shares her story of living with Bipolar Disorder to help others and ensure that nobody suffers in silence like she once did.

Stay tuned for exciting development with the new Online Stigma-Free Toolkit Program.

Victoria partners on ‘Stigma-Free Zone’ event tonight

In partnership with the City of Victoria, the Stigma-Free Society is aiming to declare City Hall a stigma-free zone.

“I’m excited to say that once we’ve completed this work – it’s a work in progress – that Victoria would be the first city with this designation,” said Coun. Jeremy Loveday. “This is really important to the City, working toward eliminating stigma and promoting mental health and community wellness.”

A ‘Stigma-Free Zone’ community event happens tonight (March 20) from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Garry Oak Room of the Fairfield Community Centre next to Sir James Douglas elementary.

Spectrum Community School to Become the First Stigma-Free Zone School in Victoria, BC

A group of Spectrum Community School students is seeking to make the high school Vancouver Island’s first “stigma-free zone.”

The newly formed Spectrum Philanthropy Club, a group of mostly Grade 12 students, invited Robyn Thomas from the Stigma Free Society to help kick off the initiative last Wednesday morning.

Thomas addressed some 300 Spectrum students in the drama theatre about her own story of mental health, overcoming PTSD, and what can be done to break down certain stigmas including mental health, along with all negative stereotypes, she said.

“We’ll work with the school for the year to help it work towards being a stigma-free zone,” Thomas said. “It’s a process and at the end we’ll designate the school a stigma-free zone.”

Andrea Paquette Bipolar Babe – Columnist for Stigma-Free Magazine

Andrea Paquette

Columnist

Andrea Paquette, AKA the Bipolar Babe, is founder and President of the Stigma-Free Society, Formerly the Bipolar Disorder Society of BC. She is a mental health speaker, published author, advocate and above all a Stigma Stomper. Andrea has reached thousands with her message of hope and resiliency in schools, workplaces, and throughout various community organizations and events. Andrea’s personal message is to remember, “No matter what our challenges, we can all live extraordinary lives.”

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Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH) – Faces of Mental Illness Sponsored by Bell Let’s Talk

Andrea Paquette: After suffering greatly from her bipolar disorder, Andrea got help and decided to inspire others to share their personal stories by creating a website called http://bipolarbabes.com. With the launch of the website, she created supportive and impacting programs and founded the Bipolar Disorder Society of British Columbia, which is now named the Stigma-Free Society. Andrea encourages others to change their attitudes towards mental illnesses by explaining that while people can have a mental illness, they are not defined by their condition.

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Bipolar Magazine: BP Hope Blogger – Andrea Paquette

Andrea is a blogger at Bipolar Magazine, BP Hope, so please do check out her blog and feel free to comment. Blogs range from personal stories, bipolar issues, and topics around mental health.

Andrea Paquette Visits North Western British Columbia

“Paquette is the President of the Stigma-Free Society, The Stigma-Free Society is a registered Canadian Charity and has designed programs providing education about stigma’s with an emphasis on mental health and peer support for those facing mental health challenges.

This afternoon, the Bipolar Babe visited the St. Veritas Catholic School, to talk with students in grades 7-9.

In the northwest, it can be challenging to find support for mental health and Paquette says it’s important to bring awareness to rural communities.”

Andrea Paquette Presents to St. George’s School to Students and Teachers

“As parents, we spend time encouraging our kids on everything from academics and athletics. We know the importance of sleep, nutrition and reduced screen time, but how many of us have discussed mental wellbeing with our children? One in 5 Canadians will experience a mental health problem in their lifetime, according to the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Speaker Andrea Paquette opens up the dialogue by sharing her own personal story of struggle and triumph since her bipolar disorder diagnosis in 2005. An award-winning mental health activist, speaker and spokesperson for the Bell Let’s Talk campaign, Paquette encourages acceptance of self and others by creating awareness of various stigmas. She will give practical, take home advice on how to open the discussion on mental health in your own family and encourage respect and resilience in our school community at large.”

Andrea Bipolar Babe Featured in ‘STIGMA FIGHTERS’

“I am passionate and extremely involved in mental health engagement in my community. I launched www.bipolarbabe.com in May of 2009 and created a logo with a talented artist titled ‘Bipolar Babe: Stomping out Stigma.’ Thereafter, I designed and distributed bipolar babe postcards, which read “Creating a World of Understanding, Empathy, and Acceptance for Those that Have a Mental Health Condition.”

Bipolar Disorder: My Curse, My Gift (Ageless Magazine) – By Andrea Paquette

My life changed forever at the age of 26, when I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. A whirlwind of mania with overpowering energy shook me to the core, depression crippled my ability to function, and psychosis convinced me I was not of this world…

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Youth with Bipolar Sought for Research – Bipolar Youth Action Project

The Bipolar Disorder Society of BC and CREST.BD are looking for youth with bipolar disorder for the Bipolar Youth Action Project Research Forums.

The partnership is looking for youth between the ages of 16 and 25 and living with bipolar disorder to share knowledge and expertise at two upcoming research forums on July 12, 2015 and in the Fall of 2015.

Telus Victoria Community Board Grants Bipolar Disorder Society of BC $20,000

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News 1130 Radio – Vancouver

She may playfully refer to herself the “bipolar babe,” but her life has been anything but fun and games.

News1130′s series of Courage To Come Back award profiles continues with a look at Andrea Paquette, the 2015 recipient in the Mental Health category.

BP Magazine for Bipolar – This is Me

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Healthplace.com hires Bipolar Babe as their new Stigma Blogger

Andrea Paquette AKA Bipolar Babe is now blogging for www.healthyplace.com and is super excited to be stigma stomping.

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Times Colonist: Local Victoria Teen Speaks Out About her Struggles with Bipolar

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The Mental Illness Awareness Week

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SNAP Victoria – The 3rd Annual Bipolar Babe Benefit

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SNAP Victoria – The 2nd Annual Bipolar Babe Benefit

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SNAP Victoria – Bipolar Babe Benefit

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Bipolar Babe Boosts Mental Health

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Taking Crazy Back: Episode 2 Bi-Polar Disorder and Psychosis with Bipolar Babe

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Bipolar Babe: The Story of a Remarkable Woman