Monday, October 19, 2015

Mental Health and the Law

The Mental Health Law Program was established in 1977 and the patients are Riverview gained a powerful advocate. The Mental Health Law Program was part of the Community Legal Assistance Program. The program provided legal advice and representation to the people who had been involuntarily detained under the BC Mental Health Act.

The professionals involved with the program represented patients at a Review Panel hearing. This panel was made up of a chair, a physician and someone appointed by the patient. The Mental Health Law Program was an important part of this process.

The Panel reviewed the status of the patients who had been involuntarily committed and decide whether the patient should stay or be discharged. The creation of the Review Panel was an important step forward in recognizing the rights of people with mental illness.

In 1980, a new Riverview Volunteer Association was formed. These volunteers spearheaded a number of projects aimed at improving the lives of the patients at Riverview. This included helping patients maintain links with their home communities and helping them transition after discharge.

The patient population at Riverview dropped to 1,100 in 1981. There was a growing network of community mental health centres and community care teams providing care for people with mental illness. There was more than 300 homes and facilities around the province.

Five new rehabilitation-oriented facilities opened in 1981. These facilities emulated family-life settings in an attempt to help people with mental illness prepare to live in a less dependent situation. There were 7 to 10 beds in each of these units.

Riverview continued to be active in mental health services in the community. By taking part in meetings with numerous psychiatric services coordinating committees, the Riverview staff decreased the isolation between the hospital and the community.

Here's a look at mental health care, in BC, in 1975.

The mental health centres were staffed by a team that may include a psychiatrist, psychologist, psychiatric social workers, mental health nurses and other professional personnel. These centres provided services such as direct treatment for adults and children, consultative services, educational programs, supervision of long-term patients, preventive programs, boarding home care and specialized group homes.

Mental health centres in BC: 30
Total patients at mental health facilities: 15,691
Patients at Riverview: 1,690
Discharges from Riverview: 779
Total in-patients: 13,939
Total out-patients: 13,263
New admissions: 9,000
Deaths: 336
Patients cared for by Greater Vancouver Mental Health Services as of October 1976: 2,716 (up from 2,116 one year earlier)
People placed in boarding homes: 585

Thanks to the PDF, Riverview, a Legacy of Compassion and Care for the above information.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

Karen Magill

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