Congratulations to Caden Poh, Research Coordinator in the Faculty of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry, on receiving the 2021 President’s Staff Award for Community Engagement. The President’s awards recognize staff members who demonstrate outstanding achievement and excellence within the UBC community. Through his work with CREST.BD, he helps to reduce barriers to information and healthcare for people living with bipolar disorder via the creative use of social media, advertising, and graphic design.

The Collaborative RESearch Team to Study Bipolar Disorder (CREST.BD) is an international research network dedicated to supporting health and quality of life for people with bipolar disorder (BD). Led by DMCBH researcher Dr. Erin Michalak, the network is unique in that everything from research and writing applications to publishing results is in collaboration with people living with BD and other mental health conditions – groups historically and systemically marginalized.

Because of Caden’s resourceful and conscientious efforts, CREST.BD significantly expanded its reach and community participation among the underserved and people living with BD. Caden facilitated #TalkBD LIVE, a series of online Q&A events designed to provide mental health support and education during the pandemic. His efforts in increasing the accessibility to this resource have been successful, reaching thousands of people living with mental health conditions and their supporters via Facebook Live, Zoom, and social media.

Caden leads and supports community engagements that benefit local and global communities. Notably, Caden initiated and annually facilitates a Reddit Ask Me Anything on World Bipolar Day. This has become the biggest international Q&A for bipolar disorder ever hosted – and this year, Caden assembled an international panel of over 25 psychiatrists, psychologists, people with lived experience, and other mental health experts to answer questions from around the world. This promotes significant community engagement globally with individuals experiencing or affected by BD, and highlights UBC’s presence in the global mental health community.

An avid volunteer, Caden demonstrates exceptional commitment to serving underprivileged members of the community. He is an active contributor to three crisis and distress lines – CHIMO Crisis Line, SUCCESS Chinese Help Lines, and Crisis Text Line. A skilled crisis intervener, Caden also serves as a mentor to over 20 crisis line volunteers.