Friday, October 30, 2015

The Riverview Reporter

Life for those with mental illness in BC in the 1990's was changing. More than one-third of the province's budget for mental health was spent on community services. There were more than 3,500 living units for people with mental health issues. Among these were family care homes, licensed specialized adult residential care facilities and semi-independent apartments.

Riverview continued to be the province's only specialized psychiatric hospital for those adults with severe and persistent mental illness even while the BC Government planned to open new mental health facilities across the province. Riverview played an important role as a teaching hospital and partnered with UBC and other hospitals as a research centre.

There has been criticism about the lack of support for those transitioning from the institution to community living by there were several initiatives put into place to assist the patients.

The first was the Bridging Program. This program connected patients with people and services in the community. Mental health agencies used cottages on the Riverview grounds as semi-independent housing to help patients adjust to a more independent living arrangements. 

The Greater Vancouver/ Riverview Hospital Transition Team would assess which patients were ready to move and help them find suitable accommodations and community supports, staying in touch with them for up to three months following discharge.

Then there was the psycho-social rehabilitation: Introduced at Riverview in 1996, the Psycho-social Rehabilitation Program prepared patients for life outside of the institution. By involving patients and/or families in developing treatment goals and care plans, psycho-social rehabilitation helps people develop life skills that will help them succeed when they return to the community.

More patients transferred into the community and the population at Riverview declined even more. In 1992, the Crease Clinic was the second large building on the grounds to close.

The  Riverview Reporter newsletter was another change. During the 50's and 60's, the Leader newsletter focused on patient's activities and life at the mental institution. The newsletter's successor, the Riverview Reporter, was a different publication. In the April/May 1992 issue, there were articles on child rearing, nutrition, recycling, the ozone layer, the drug trade and educational opportunities.

Saturday is Halloween. I hope you all fun but please, stay safe and watch out for those little ghosts and goblins making their rounds. Remember they may run out into traffic so please drive slow. We don't want any tragedies. And clocks go back an hour giving the spirits an extra hour to haunt us.

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

I hope you find the beauty around you.

Karen Magill

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