The Stigma-Free Society (SFS) offers educational programming and peer support that address the effects of stigma with a focus on mental health. Our Charity strives to create awareness, understanding and acceptance in ourselves and others.
The Stigma-Free Society has been a registered Canadian Charity since 2010, which started as a project ignited by Andrea Paquette, President, SFS, who created a Bipolar Babe T-shirt and website to share her personal experience, so others did not have to suffer in silence like she once did. Her efforts led to meeting supportive and dedicated individuals in the local Victoria community who formed the Bipolar Disorder Society of British Columbia in 2010. The Charity changed their name to the Stigma-Free Society in August 2016, to expand their mandate and include the conversation around all stigmas, with a focus on mental health. While our programming is adapted for all ages, we have a special focus on supporting youth.
We foster awareness, understanding, and acceptance through education, support and leadership.
To foster a movement that cultivates, encourages, and educates diverse communities to be inclusive and compassionate through awareness and understanding.
The Stigma-Free Society currently has nine values that it embodies:
What People Are Saying
"Because of your presentation, I feel less nervous about meeting my biological father who has bipolar disorder. "
— ~ Grade 11 Student, Edward Milne Community School
" I have taken a few courses on mental illness because my mom has it and she found out at the age of 11. It is really hard for my mom because she dealt with a lot of depression but now she is 53 and getting back into things. I love seeing her smile and I love seeing her happy. "
— ~ Grade 7 Student, Lansdowne Middle School
"“Andrea is the most engaging and charismatic speaker that I have had into my classroom in the past 10 years as she has a lasting impact on the students, and I have no doubt that my class will remember this experience for years to come."
— ~ Scott Gordon, Planning and Psychology Teacher, Stelly’s Secondary
"Every week I am blessed with the opportunity to go and have a chance to share my ups and downs, my confusion and frustrations, and my joy and happiness. It is a place for laughter and tears."
— ~ Bridget, Participant with Lived Experience, Women’s Support Group