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Bipolar Youth Action Project - CREST.BD, Bipolar Society of BC, Youth Action Group, mindyourmind - 2016

An action research project conducted in British Columbia to explore effective self-management strategies for youth with bipolar disorder.

Bipolar disorder research has expanded rapidly in the past decade, yet the field faces challenges in improving quality of life and symptom outcomes, accessing marginalized communities, and disseminating research into practice. As onset of BD typically occurs in young adulthood, youth are a target group for early intervention and support. There is evidence that ‘self-management’ or ‘wellness’ strategies can positively impact health and quality of life in adults with BD. Missing from a research perspective is knowledge about effective strategies for youth with BD. The Bipolar Youth Action Project (BYAP) brings together a qualitative BD research group (CREST.BD), a BD-specific community group (BDSBC), and youth co-researchers with BD to help fill this gap. Training for the Youth Action Group (YAG) was guided by mindyourmind.

Who was involved?
  • The Collaborative REsearch Team to study psychosocial issues in Bipolar Disorder (CREST.BD) is a multidisciplinary network of researchers, healthcare providers and people living with the condition. They are dedicated to research and knowledge exchange about psychological and social factors in BD. CREST.BD’s aim is to enhance the health and wellness of people living with the condition. 
  • The Bipolar Society of British Columbia is not-for-profit, community based organization dedicated to battling stigma and increasing education on bipolar disorder.
  • The YAG (Youth Action Group) comprised of 7 youth from Victoria who live with the disorder
  • The Principal Investigator for BYAP is Dr. Erin Michalak, Associate Professor, Mood Disorders Centre, Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia. 
What did we do?

To date, this project has included the involvement of youth co-researchers with BD as collaborators in the generation of knowledge about their condition. The project has held multiple in person and phone-based meetings, including two youth summits, leading to emergent findings on youth wellness strategies and associated KT products. Stages of research described include: formulation of CBPR goals with youth; establishing collaborative processes; data gathering and analysis; knowledge translation design. 

Learn more about BYAP:

What did we learn?

This project has developed a knowledge base of wellness strategies for living with bipolar disorder. These strategies have been generated by youth for youth, and a quick summary can be found here.

Additionally, this project served to test and finesse youth engagement and Community-Based Participatory Research strategies. mindyourmind’s own expertise towards Participatory Action Research, as developed in our Youth as Research Partners work, was used in this project to support the youth advisory council and adult research teams in BYAP.


How can you use this?

This knowledge can be shared with mindyourmind partners as a contribution to the participatory methodologies, and as samples of co-created vehicles that impact the way service providers approach mental-health treatment for youth within diverse populations.