News & Events

Stories Across the Lifespan: Depression & Bipolar Disorder


Mental illness such as depression or bipolar disorder can affect anyone, at any age. But how does age, in addition to other environmental and genetic factors, affect the way depression or bipolar disorder is felt and seen?

Join The Centre for Depression and Suicide Studies at St.Michael’s Hospital and the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario’s newest public speaker series: Stories Across the Lifespan. This series aims to bring together people from various age groups and walks of life to share their personal stories of living and flourishing, despite living with mental illness.

The first chapter of the series will focus on depression and bipolar disorder. Three persons with lived experience from three age groups–adolescent, midlife and senior–will share their personal stories of depression or bipolar disorder and the challenges of dealing with a mental illness at their life stage. The fourth speaker will be a neuroscientist who will bring in a clinical and research perspective and talk about the neurobiology of mental health across the lifespan, with a focus on bipolar disorder in youth. The talks will conclude with a Q & A session followed by a light reception.


Finn Pihl (adolescent speaker): Finn is a 15 year-old mental health community leader who is working tirelessly to bring awareness of mental illness in youth and to help end the stigma surrounding mental illness. Since his first keynote speech four years ago, Finn has already made a significant impact in promoting mental health within his community and Canada as an advocate and fundraiser, and has received local and national awards for his influential contributions.

Kathryn Schade (midlife speaker): Kathryn is a patient partner and advocate for the meaningful inclusion of the patient voice in decision-making at all levels of health care and medical research. An engaging and powerful speaker, Kathryn shares an inspiring message of hope, courage, and transformation in the face of devastating illness and seemingly insurmountable odds. Her story has been featured in the National Post and will appear in an upcoming issue of Brain and Behaviour Magazine.

Caroline Fei-Yeng Kwok (senior speaker): Caroline is a mental health advocate with special interest in immigrant mental health, recovery-oriented practice, recovery education, and psychosocial education for caregivers. and published author of Free to Fly: A Story of Manic Depression (available in English and Chinese). She has also lectured nationally and internationally, is actively contributing to mental health research in Toronto, and has developed a recovery education course.

Benjamin Goldstein (clinician speaker): Dr. Goldstein is a child-adolescent psychiatrist and Professor of Psychiatry, Pharmacology, and Psychological Clinical Science at the University of Toronto, as well as Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh. He is the Director of the Centre for Youth Bipolar Disorder and Director of Research in the Department of Psychiatry at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, and a Senior Scientist at Sunnybrook Research Institute. His research focuses on bipolar disorder (BD) among adolescents, and aims to identify and advance the understanding of biological factors that cause BD. Dr. Goldstein has authored over 140 scientific articles, and has received international awards for his research.

The event will be MC’d by Dr. Sakina Rizvi (PhD) and Tian Renton (PhD candidate).

This is a unique event covering multiple demographic populations that provides a novel opportunity for attendees to reflect on and gain awareness of the difference in mental health presentation and experiences across the lifespan. Please share across personal and professional networks. All are welcome.


18:00 – 18:30 Registration and Refreshments

18:30 – 18:35 Welcome, Introduction to The Centre

18:35 – 18:50 Finn Pihl

18:55 – 19:10 Kathryn Schade

19:15 – 19:30 Caroline Kwok

19:35 – 20:05 Dr. Benjamin Goldstein

20:05 – 20:30 Q & A

20:30 – 21:00 Reception

21:00 End of Event