The Stigma-Free Society Helping People With Their Mental Health

Hillary Johnson

Mental health is at the forefront of today's health care concerns and the "Stigma-Free Society" is trying to create a safer place for those who struggle with mental illness and the negative connotation that surrounds it. 
President and Founder of this grassroots non-profit society, Andrea Paquette, also known as the "Bipolar Babe," created the organization back in 2009, which became a fully registered Canadian charity in 2010.
The group travels all over BC to talk to students, businesses, various organizations and even political offices about mental health disorders as well as their own personal experiences.

"With the society, we focus in on mental health but other stigmas as well. We create awareness around mental health; we do so much around understanding and really encouraging people for the acceptance of ourselves and others. It's opening up conversations that are free of stigma and just truly trying to make the world a more accepting place."

The society's current project involves creating an online stigma-free zone designation program that will offer tools such as video presentations and online dialogue with short stories and videos of people who are experiencing many stigmas and mental health issues. There is also potential to add a curriculum for student use as well as tools and tips on managing mental health.

"This online system will be able to be used in schools, businesses, organizations, political offices, and all of those things across Canada and that is the goal. We are plugging in and partnering with many national organizations, we're talking with Kids Help Phone as well as Right to Play, and we just want to partner, to be able to bring our message and help as many people, as possible, across the country."

Paquette's goal is to help encourage people working through their struggles, and she believes no matter what your challenges are, everyone can live extraordinary lives.

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