The Charity is best known for the Stigma-Free Zone School Program and Children's Mental Health Program that have been offered for 10+ years across British Columbia. The Charity has delivered program presentations across Vancouver Island, Lower Mainland and parts of Northern British Columbia.
The Society created its first and very successful 'Stigma-Free Youth Mental Wellness Toolkit' in the face of COVID-19 during April, 2020.
The Mental Wellness Toolkit is a useful resource for school counsellors and educators, who work with young students, whether at school, or in a virtual environment. The resource has various sections that range from Coping w/ Mental Health During COVID-19, Inspiring Stories, Video Library, Facebook Live Events offered by an RCC, psychologist and Surrey School District Youth Counsellor. The Toolkit was designed alongside these professionals and more. The Toolkit's educational goals include a strong focus on mental wellness tools and students are encouraged to ask for help, learn about how to combat bullying and participate in learning activities. There are a number of downloadable resources such as '10 Tips to Managing Anxiety' to dozens of 'True and False' about COVID-19. These resources are ideal for school counsellors as they offer valuable materials to spark conversations with their students.
The Stigma-Free Society also has a new upcoming 'General Mental Health Toolkit' that is designed for Educators in schools and will also be useful for school counselors. This presentation will include a sneak peek into the new Toolkit as it will only be piloted in one School District during this time.
Co- Founder & President of the Stigma-Free Society
Speaker. Author. Changemaker.
Andrea Paquette, is the President and Co- Founder of the Stigma-Free Society, formerly the Founder of the Bipolar Disorder Society of British Columbia (BDSBC). 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 the Bipolar Disorder Society of BC in 2010, with the collaboration of seven dedicated Board of Directors. The Charity has been renamed as the Stigma-Free Society www.stigmafreesociety.com and offers seven programs across British Columbia under the Stigma-Free Zone branding. The Charity's service delivery mainly includes educational mental health and anti-stigma programs for both youth and adults. The Society offers presentations to schools and the community on the topic of stigma with a focus on mental wellness.
Andrea's purpose is to create awareness and understanding of various stigmas, while encouraging people to be accepting of themselves and others. She promotes a stigma-free culture and co-founded a stigma-free zone movement across British Columbia, which aims to create awareness, understanding and acceptance. Andrea is passionate about educating today’s youth in schools 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 personal story of struggle and triumph since her bipolar disorder diagnosis in 2005 throughout multiple venues across the globe.She is an award winning mental health activist, educator, facilitator, speaker and published author. In ten years, Andrea has presented her story at over 500+ schools, workplaces, community organizations and events, reaching thousands of people with her hopeful message.
Andrea is the 2019 award winner for the President's Commendation from the Psychiatric Association of Canada.
She has been named as a 2017 YWCA Woman of Distinction nominee for Metro Vancouver. She has been featured on a Bell Let’s Talk Public Service Announcement that aired nationally across numerous media outlets. She is also being featured on an upcoming CBC documentary in the Fall of 2020 that focuses on bipolar disorder. Andrea is the 2015 Courage To Come Back Award recipient in the category of Mental Health from Coast Mental Health, 2013 Mel Cooper Citizen of the Year in Victoria, B.C. and the Winner of the 2013 Award for Youth Mentorship from the National Council for Behavioral Health, Washington, D.C. Andrea is also recognized as the winner for Vancouver Island's Business and Community Award - 2015 Top 20 Under 40 Award. In 2016, she had been named as an official spokesperson for the Bell Let's Talk Faces of Mental Illness Campaign for the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH).
Andrea shares her message with passion far and wide that truly, "No matter what our challenges, we can all live extraordinary lives."