A Canadian Roadmap for Bipolar Disorder Psychosocial Research and Care

June 13, 2023 2 comments
A Canadian Roadmap for Bipolar Disorder Psychosocial Research and Care

Establishing a Canadian Roadmap for Bipolar Disorder Psychosocial Research and Care

A CREST.BD-Daymark Foundation Collaboration

People with bipolar disorder (BD) can experience good health and quality of life (QoL). To achieve this, people with BD typically need access to evidence-informed psychological and social (‘psychosocial’) treatments and supports. In addition to medications, psychosocial treatments and supports empower people with BD to manage their symptoms and improve wellbeing. However, the majority of Canadians aren’t getting this. Whether, when, where and how people with BD get access to evidence-informed treatments, especially psychosocial ones, varies greatly across Canada. 

This project will co-create an impactful shared agenda (a ‘Roadmap’) for BD research and care system advancement to improve the health and QoL of people with BD in Canada

Project Goals 

During this project, we will: 
  • Identify the unmet psychosocial needs hindering diverse people with BD from experiencing health, QoL, and optimal care in the Canadian context; 
  • Identify potential barriers and facilitators to addressing these unmet needs; 
  • Share these finding via a Roadmap document

Project Methods

The project will use a research approach called ‘deliberative dialogue’. Deliberative dialogue is an approach designed to help build consensus. During the process, groups of diverse people exchange and weigh ideas and opinions about a particular issue in which they share an interest. Over time, participants are supported to reach consensus on decisions and priorities.

For this project, we will be engaging with specific groups of people who are affected by or have an interest in BD. We will be recruiting between 60 and 80 participants from the following groups: 

  • People living with BD
  • Family members/caregivers of people with BD
  • BD healthcare providers 
  • Community organization representatives 
  • Decision makers and policy makers

We will conduct 5-6 deliberative dialogue sessions between June and October 2023. Each session will include diverse participants from the categories above, valuing and embracing their perspectives and knowledge. Participants will be provided with a brief document describing the current evidence on psychosocial treatments and care for BD and some guiding questions to think about. We will be asking questions such as: Where is the system working well? Where is it broken or ineffective? What are some collective priorities for change and system advancement? 

Each dialogue will be co-facilitated by two people, one expert in deliberative dialogue and one peer-researcher with lived experience of BD. The facilitators will begin the discussion by reviewing highlights from the document then fostering discussion. The content of each dialogue will be analyzed, summarized and shared at the next session. As such, the knowledge gained will build between and across the dialogue sessions. 

After the final analysis is complete, we will share the findings of the project through a ‘Canadian Roadmap for BD Psychosocial Research and Care’ document. The document will describe the current landscape of psychosocial care and supports in Canada for people with BD. Our Roadmap will be shared widely with researchers, funders, policy makers, healthcare providers and people with lived experience of BD in the hope of supporting all people with the condition to achieve the best possible health and QoL. 

Join Us!

If you fall into one of the following categories: 

  • A person living with BD (Type 1, 2, or Not Otherwise Specified)
  • A family member or caregiver of someone with BD
  • A healthcare provider providing care for patients with BD
  • A community organization representative working with people living with BD
  • A decision maker/policy maker in the mental health space 

and are interested in contributing your knowledge to this project, please register your interest via this link: 

Register Now!

Erin Michalak - TalkBD Bipolar Disorder Podcast

Erin Michalak, Ph.D.

Erin is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, Program Director for the APEC Digital Hub for Mental Health, the (prior) Patient Engagement Methods Clusters Lead for the BC SUPPORT Unit and VP for Outreach for the International Society for Bipolar Disorders. Her background is in psychology, with a PhD awarded from the University of Wales College of Medicine in the United Kingdom. Her research expertise lies in mood disorders, digital mental health, patient engagement in research, knowledge translation (KT), quality of life (QoL), and global mental health. Erin Michalak is the nominated principal investigator (PI) and will oversee all study methods, ethical considerations, data analysis, and dissemination.

Dr. Lisa O'Donnell - TalkBD Bipolar Disorder Podcast

Lisa O’Donnell, Ph.D.

Lisa is an Assistant Professor at Wayne State University. She received her PhD from the University of Michigan’s joint PhD program in Social Work and Clinical Psychology in 2016. Her research interests include the examination of the nature of functional outcomes, particularly employment, and quality of life among individuals with mental health conditions, as well as the impact of stigma of mental illness on employment outcomes. Further, her research interests include the development and dissemination of culturally appropriate, psychotherapeutic and employment-related interventions for underserved and economically disadvantaged populations. Lisa O’Donnell is the co-principal investigator (co-PI).

Dr Emma Morton TalkBD Bipolar Disorder Podcast

Emma Morton, Ph.D.

Emma is a CIHR Banting Postdoctoral Fellow at UBC Psychiatry. She completed her Ph.D. and training as a psychologist in 2018 at Swinburne University, Australia, and moved to Canada to join the CREST.BD team as an Institute of Mental Health Marshall Fellow in 2019. Emma’s research interests include quality of life, self-management strategies, and digital mental health tools for people living with mood disorders. She has clinical experience working in community mental health, early intervention, and hospital settings. Emma will support the review of candidate research prioritization methods and evidence synthesis for the needs assessment and prioritization exercises.

Carolyn Ziegler, MA, MISt 

Carolyn has been a member of the CREST-BD Community Advisory Group since 2016 and has lived experience of bipolar disorder. She is an information specialist with Library Services, Unity Health Toronto. The network includes St. Michael’s Hospital, St. Joseph’s Health Centre, and Providence Healthcare. She supports the research, educational, and clinical information needs of staff, students, and scientists. She has over twenty years of experience facilitating small group library and research-related workshops with diverse participants and is co-author on 30 knowledge synthesis publications. Carolyn Ziegler will be the peer researcher co-facilitator, contributing to stakeholder engagement in the deliberative dialogue and the analysis of the study data.

Davina Banner-Lukaris, Ph.D.

Davina is a cardiovascular and rural health researcher, nurse educator, and palliative care practitioner. Davina currently works as an Associate Professor in the School of Nursing at the University of Northern British Columbia and leads an interdisciplinary program of research exploring cardiovascular care, patient and provider experiences, and rural health service delivery. Dr. Banner has published and presented nationally and internationally and has a special interest in integrated knowledge translation and patient engagement. Davina Banner-Lukaris and Nelly Oelke will share responsibility for designing the methods for the deliberative dialogue sessions and will function as the academic facilitators of the groups.

Nelly Oelke, Ph.D.

Nelly has worked in a variety of areas in nursing practice (medicine, pediatrics, and public health) and nursing education. Prior to coming to UBC Okanagan in 2011, she worked for the Health Systems and Workforce Research Unit with Alberta Health Services in applied research. As a health services researcher, her program of research focuses on integrated health systems with a specific in the area of primary health care. Specific interests include policy, interprofessional collaborative practice, primary health care teams, mental health and well-being, and rural health. Nelly Oelke will join Davina in co-designing the methods for the deliberative dialogue sessions and facilitating the groups.

Braden O’Neill, MD, DPhil

Braden is a clinician-scientist and family physician working at the intersection of primary care and psychiatry at Unity Health Toronto. His research addresses how to work together across health and social care to improve the lives of people with serious mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. He is a family physician in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at St. Michael’s Hospital and an assistant professor in the University of Toronto Department of Family and Community Medicine. He is also an associate editor at CMAJ. Braden O’Neil will share responsibility for recruitment for the primary care-focused deliberative dialogue group and will also act as the be the liaison for community organizations and healthcare providers focusing on rural and remote care in Canada.

Dane Mauer-Vakil, Trainee

Dane is a first-year PhD student in Public Health Sciences at the University of Waterloo in the health evaluation specialization conducting applied research in mental health systems and policies. Dane’s current research focuses include poverty reduction interventions in primary care and publicly funded psychotherapy services in the Canadian context. His doctoral dissertation focuses on developing, implementing, and evaluating mental health care quality indicators for youth with bipolar disorder in Ontario. Dane is a project trainee and will assist with data analysis and knowledge translation activities.

Dr. Steven Barnes - TalkBD Bipolar Disorder Podcast

Steven J. Barnes, Ph.D.

Steven is well-regarded for his work related to online learning technologies (e.g., the Tapestry Project), student mental health and wellbeing, and bipolar disorder (BD). Steven is deputy co-lead of the Collaborative RESearch Team to study psychosocial issues in BD. He is also an accomplished author, having published in the fields of epileptology, neurophysiology, student mental health, digital mental health, bipolar disorder, and behavioural neuroscience. Steven Barnes is a co-applicant on the funding application and will provide guidance on study methods.

If you would like to get involved in this project please fill out this Registration Form to indicate your interest!

2 Comments on “A Canadian Roadmap for Bipolar Disorder Psychosocial Research and Care”

    • Hi Ken, thanks for checking! We are looking for people from bipolar disorder community who currently live in Canada – so they do not have to be Canadian citizens. In addition to people living with bipolar disorder, we are also welcoming healthcare providers/community partners who work with people with bipolar disorder, and family members of people with bipolar disorder to join.

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