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The Stigma Team is composed of hard working and dedicated individuals who, like most Canadians, have all encountered mental health and substance use in their lives and managed to learn, grow and thrive as a result. We believe in Stigma Magazine as a vital information resource on a subject too often clouded by misinformation and prejudice. Our magazine seeks to combat misinformation, promote progressive and evidence-based policy, share success stories and encourage citizens to get active and involved with this issue in their communities and on the national stage.”

Jay McNeil


After spending half of his life on this Pacific Northwest paradise and 30 years working in advertising and publishing, Jay has real depth of knowledge and expertise. He is also very familiar with the Canadian business climate and knows how to produce results for his clients. Jay believes in breaking down stigma in all areas of life and believes love and compassion can lead the way to a greater society. A thrill-seeker, Jay also enjoys getting outside and pushing boundaries - that means skydiving, bungee jumping, adventure travel and motorcycles.

Marie Engel 

Creative Director/Community Outreach

A creative force in her personal and professional life Marie's focus is creating engaging and interesting creative content wherever she goes.  Her work with Stigma revolves around discovering new and exciting research, perspectives and theories on mental health, addiction, recovery and wellness to bring to our readers.  As coordinator of Community Outreach she works to expand Stigma's role in our local and national community of survivors and thrivers, championing the idea that no one should suffer in isolation and silence.

Kate Lautens 


A former editor of Boulevard magazine, Kate Lautens is currently the in-house editor for Epicure, a local direct sales company. A passionate editor, Kate enjoys projects that communicate the importance of health and wellness; she has worked on publications with Island Health and the Victoria Foundation, and she looks forward to sharing her enthusiasm as acting editor of Stigma magazine.

Cassie Hooker

Writer/Contributing Editor

Cassie Hooker has been writing and editing for others since the 6th grade and has offered these services as a professional freelancer for the last 3 years. She has a wealth of personal experience in dealing with mental health-related issues such as Autism, PTSD and Depression, being the mom of two wonderful Autistic children, and the partner of one of Canada’s military vets suffering from PTSD.  She is currently completing a book about the funnier side of parenting Autistic children.

Julia Breese 

Creative Designer

To create the look and feel of Stigma Magazine, Stigma has solicited the expertise and out-of-the-box creativity of Julia Breese of Breez Design Studios. Julia offers many years of experience in marketing, publication design and brand building. We are grateful to have Julia as part of the Stigma team.

Andrea Paquette


Andrea Paquette, AKA the Bipolar Babe, is founder and Executive Director of the Stigma-Free Society, Formerly the Bipolar Disorder Society of BC. She is a mental health speaker, published author, advocate and above all a Stigma Stomper. Andrea has reached thousands with her message of hope and resiliency in schools, workplaces, and throughout various community organizations and events. Andrea’s personal message is to remember, “No matter what our challenges, we can all live extraordinary lives.”

Tonya Alton

Contributing Writer 

T. L. Alton is a narrative writer, blogger, public speaker and grief coordinator.  Her facilitation includes T.E.S.L, GriefShare and B.R.I.D.G.E.S.

An advocate of mental health and wellness, she is a supporter for positive change. 

Her first fiction novel, Under the Sitka Tree, is near completion. Learn more at 

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