Steven Barnes on World Bipolar Day: “Making those connections with other people who have had lived experience with mental illness has been very important for my recovery”
World Bipolar Day
Each year on the date of artist Vincent van Gogh’s birthday, March 30th, a group of organizations including the International Bi-Polar Foundation, declare a World Bipolar Awareness Day. Van Gogh suffered from mental illness throughout his life and was posthumously diagnosed as probably having a bipolar condition.
Both depression and bipolar disorder are mental illnesses that affect mood. But unlike depression, with bipolar disorder folks experience episodes of depression and episodes of mania — or a less-severe form of mania called hypomania. An episode of depression in bipolar disorder is the same as other types of depression, while mania is an unusually high mood or irritability for the person, often accompanied by excessive energy. Episodes of depression or mania generally last for a period of time, though a small number of people with bipolar disorder may experience episodes that change quickly.
You can find out more about bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses at the Canadian Mental Health Association online at cmha.ca.
New directions in bipolar disorder research, treatment and care
CREST.BD empowers communities to engage in bipolar disorder research
A University of British Columbia-based group called CREST.BD is researching the psycho-social issues associated with bipolar disorder. The Collaborative Research Team to Study Psychosocial Issues in Bipolar Disorder…or CREST.BD for short…uses a pioneering participatory approach.
Researchers, healthcare providers, and perhaps most importantly, people who live with bipolar disorder and their allies, work together to improve health and quality of life in people with bipolar disorder. CREST.BD empowers communities to engage in bipolar disorder research.
Steven Barnes is a network deputy at CREST.BD. He has a PhD in Psychology from the University of British Columbia, and works as an Instructor in the Department of Psychology at UBC.
Dr. Barnes’ expertise lies in the areas of psychiatric disorders, epilepsy, learning and memory, and neuroplasticity. He has a keen interest in the translation and visualization of knowledge from each of these research areas, but especially from research on bipolar disorder. Dr. Barnes is an active artist, often focusing on new media pieces that aim to inspire dialogue on the ways we think about and use modern technologies. He also produces traditional paintings and drawings, and is a member of a Vancouver artist-run collective. Dr. Barnes lives well with bipolar disorder.
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