We are a psychology teacher with bipolar disorder and a professor of psychiatry from an international research team working to improve lives of people with BD. For World Bipolar Day - Ask us anything!
Hello Reddit! We are both leads of international bipolar disorder research network CREST.BD:
I’m Dr. Steven Barnes, PhD, Senior Instructor in Psychology at the University of British Columbia. I live with bipolar disorder and my interests include psychological disorders (especially BD), epilepsy, new media, artist-scientist collaborations, and teaching of psychology. I enjoy working to support student mental health and wellbeing, and also help direct a peer-run support group for individuals experiencing mental health issues.
I’m Dr. Erin Michalak, PhD, Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia. My work is dedicated to optimising health and quality of life --- and reducing stigma -- for people living with bipolar disorder. My research interests are in digital mental health interventions, ‘patient’ and community engagement in research, knowledge sharing, and the development of new psychological treatments interventions for people facing mental health challenges.
Bipolar disorder is a long-term and potentially disabling mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings from depression to mania. Suicide rates are disturbingly high - up to 15% of people with the condition will end their own lives. With optimal treatment, care and empowerment, people with bipolar disorder can flourish, but this requires more than just medications. Psychological and social (‘psychosocial’) treatments, stigma-reduction and easy access to evidence-based knowledge on effective self-care strategies are critical.
We established CREST.BD twelve years ago in Vancouver, Canada. The team’s mission is to support optimal health and quality of life in people with bipolar disorder through ground-breaking research, and to empower people with the condition to engage in research in a new way. Now an international network, CREST.BD uses a pioneering approach in which researchers, healthcare providers, and, critically, people with bipolar disorder, work together to advance research and knowledge sharing. Everything we do - from deciding what to research, writing applications for funding, to doing the research and publishing the results, we do hand-in-hand with people with bipolar disorder.
We specialize in producing web-based tools to share evidence-informed treatments and self-care strategies, such as our online quality of life assessment tool QoL Tool and our signature Bipolar Wellness Centre Bipolar Wellness Centre.
In honor of World Bipolar Day (March 30), ask us anything!
UPDATE (Mar 29,2019 - 1:21pm PST) - A final note from Steven and Erin - photo:
Wow, that three hours went fast, our fingers are aching over here in Vancouver, Canada! Thank you all so much for joining us for our first-ever AMA in honour of World Bipolar Day, and making it such a great experience! We’re sorry to those people who’s questions we didn’t get to - we’ll keep monitoring your questions and answer them over the coming days as best we can, they’re all great questions. Keep in touch with us, and join us in our goal to improve science and society for people living with BD. Happy World Bipolar Day!
UPDATE (April 1,2019 - 9:26am PST) it's fantastic to see such continued interest in this AMA conversation, thanks for all your further questions! Happily, we have a large pool of expertise in the CREST.BD network to tap into, so we'll work over time to get most of these questions answered, but we'll pull in experts from our wider team to answer some of the ones that are outside of my and Steven's areas of expertise.
UPDATE (April 2,2019) CREST.BD member and psychiatrist Dr. Rob Tarzwell, MD, (profile) is also now supporting us in this AMA!