FAQs for People with BD

  • What if I am experiencing an emotional crisis?

    If you are in crisis, we urge you to call your healthcare provider or regional emergency number (e.g., 911) immediately. Please be aware that this site is not monitored daily and any messages you send us will not be received immediately. If you are experiencing low mood or distress which is less severe, please see the Crisis tab for more resources and information online.

  • How do you know this Quality of Life Tool works?

    This Quality of Life Tool has been developed hand-in-hand with hundreds of people with BD, through many years of research funded by the Canadian government. Our research data shows that the QoL Tool accurately measures quality of life for people with bipolar disorder, and is sensitive to change - that is, it can pick up when things are worsening or improving for you.

  • Why is it beneficial to measure quality of life?

    Measuring quality of life is different from just measuring the presence or absence of symptoms. While symptom measures are important for keeping track of your mood, the QoL Tool can help you look at your life in a broader, more holistic way. People who have used the QoL Tool have told us that it has helped them identify what kinds of self-management strategies will be most helpful for them. In addition, the QoL Tool can help you identify areas of strengths and feel good about what is going well in your life (and keep up any habits that are contributing positively to your wellbeing).

  • Do I have to register to use the Quality of Life Tool?

    No, you can use the Quality of Life Tool without registering. However, registering will give you access to all the tool's features, like being able to view your quality of life scores over time.

  • If I register, will my personal information be kept private?

    Yes! Maintaining your privacy is very important to us. The information you provide will be maintained in strictest confidence on a secure server located in Canada.

  • How long does it take to complete the Quality of Life Tool?

    The Quality of Life Tool takes about five minutes to complete, although you can stop and return to it anytime within a one hour window.

  • How often should I complete the Quality of Life Tool?

    We recommend completing the Quality of Life Tool about once a month.

  • How do I read the graph in "My Results"?

    The results for each life area are shown together on the circular graph. The closer the lines are to the outside of the circle, the more satisfied you are in that life area.

  • What do the numbers mean in "My Results"?

    Beside the circular graph, you can see your scores listed beside each life area (ranging from 4 to 16). Higher scores show greater satisfaction in that life area, while lower scores show less satisfaction.

  • What do I do with my results?

    You can print out your results (with the print option at the top of the "My Results" page) to take to your next healthcare appointment. To help your healthcare provider understand your results, we recommend printing out our letter for your healthcare provider which describes the tool. You can also use your results as a gateway to our Bipolar Wellness Center, where you can access resources for specific life areas that may need some attention, or for any of the 14 different life areas.

  • What does it mean if I choose to register for the QoL Tool and select "include data in research" on the registration page?

    The implications of participating as a research participant in the research component of the QoL Tool are fully explained in the consent form, which you will encounter on the registration page. If you have additional questions related to the purpose of the research, or personal questions about possible research participation, please complete our Contact Us form and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.

  • What do I do if I run into a technical problem?

    Please read our Technical Help page and if you are still experiencing difficulties, complete our Contact Us form, including details of the problem you've encountered, whether you are using a PC or a Mac and what browser you're using (e.g., Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer).  We'll get back to you as soon as possible.

  • Have a question that hasn’t been answered above?

    Please complete our Contact Us form and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.


FAQs for Healthcare Providers

  • One of my patients has completed the questionnaire. What do I need to know?

    The QoL Tool is a quality of life self-report instrument specifically designed for, and in consultation with, people with bipolar disorder. It assesses satisfaction across twelve core domains that are important for quality of life in bipolar disorder (sleep, physical health, mood, cognition, leisure, self-esteem, identity, independence, social relationships, household management, finances, and spirituality) and two optional areas (work and study). For more detailed information, please watch our healthcare providers video and read our healthcare clinician letter.

  • How was the quality of life tool developed?

    The QoL Tool is a web-based version of the QoL.BD, the first condition-specific measure of quality of life for people with bipolar disorder. The QoL.BD was developed using community based participatory research methods in conjunction with a literature review. People with bipolar disorder, their family members and support persons, and clinicians/researchers with expertise in bipolar disorder were consulted about the impacts of bipolar disorder on quality of life. The QoL.BD is valid, reliable, and sensitive to change.

    The online QoL Tool was adapted in consultation with people with lived experience of bipolar disorder. Based on this feedback, features were added to improve functionality such as the graphical display of results and ability to compare scores over time. The psychometric properties of the web-based QoL Tool are concordant with the original pen-and-paper measure.

  • Why is this quality of life tool useful for my patients?

    People who have used the QoL Tool have told us that it helps them identify areas in need of intervention. The QoL Tool results provide a link for each domain to its complementary section in the Bipolar Wellness Centre, which houses evidence-informed self management strategies to help support quality of life.

    Importantly, the QoL Tool can also help people identify areas of life where they are flourishing. Our qualitative research has shown that this can help reinforce self-management efforts that are supporting good quality of life, and promote a positive outlook one’s circumstances by drawing attention to strengths.

  • How can I use the quality of life tool clinically?

    The QoL Tool may be useful in clinical settings to provide a holistic overview of a person’s strengths and weaknesses. This can be helpful for collaborative case formulation and identifying goals for self-management or therapy. Each of the QoL Tool domains has a complementary section on the Bipolar Wellness Centre, which houses evidence-informed self management strategies to help support quality of life in that area. It may be useful to direct patients to the relevant sections of the Bipolar Wellness Centre, or explore potentially helpful strategies in more detail in your clinical work together.

    Completing the QoL Tool on a regular basis (we recommend once a month) can help track progress towards goals. Further information on the rationale for assessing quality of life in bipolar disorder in clinical practice is available in this book chapter.

    Greg Murray, a clinical psychologist, gives a brief demonstration of how the QoL Tool might be used for collaborative case conceptualisation in a series of training videos.