Andrea Paquette, is the President and Founder of the Stigma-Free Society, formerly the Bipolar Disorder Society of British Columbia (BDSBC) in Canada. She created the Bipolar Babe Project in 2009, and thereafter, an impacting website, which offered people a place to connect and find valuable mental health information. The Bipolar Babe Project evolved into her Charity in 2010 during a time where mental health was rarely discussed.
The Charity renamed as the Stigma-Free Society in 2016 and offers six programs provincially in British Columbia, Canada. The organization's service delivery includes peer support groups and presentations programs for both youth and adults. The Society offers programs to schools and the community on the topic of stigma, with a focus on mental health. Their purpose is to create awareness and understanding of various stigmas, while encouraging people to be accepting of themselves and others. Paquette promotes a Stigma-Free culture and a Stigma-Free Zone movement across Canada, which aims to create awareness, understanding and acceptance.
Paquette is passionate about educating today’s youth in school and adults in the community about the stigma surrounding mental health and additional societal stigmas that negatively affect people’s perceptions of themselves and others. She shares her passionate personal story of struggle and triumph since her bipolar disorder diagnosis in 2005 throughout multiple venues internationally.
She is an award winning mental health activist, educator, facilitator, speaker and published author. Andrea has presented her story at over 500+ schools, workplaces, community organizations and events, while reaching over 50,000+ people.
Paquette has received the 2019 President's Commendation Award from the Psychiatric Association of Canada. She is the Provincial 2015 Courage To Come Back Award Recipient in the category of Mental Health given by Coast Mental Health, 2013 Mel Cooper Citizen of the Year Award, and the Winner for Youth Mentorship from the National Council for Behavioural Health in Washington, D.C.
Paquette is recognized as the winner for Vancouver Island's Business and Community Award - 2015 Top 20 Under 40 Award. She has also been named as an official spokesperson for the 2016 Faces of Mental Illness Campaign for the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH). She has been featured on a Bell Let’s Talk Public Service Announcement (PSA) aired nationally in Canada and multiple media outlets that showcase her personal story. Andrea is a 2018 Nominee for the Women Influencer Awards from the Women’s Collaborative Hub and a 2017 nominee for the YWCA Women of Distinction Community Champion Award.
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