Friday, November 6, 2015

Fighting for Riverview

When the 1900's began, the province of British Columbia built an asylum to care of its mentally ill. Now, a century later, the asylum was closing and the care for the mentally ill was taken over by the community. However, Riverview's story was not over yet.

The New Mental Health Plan, which the province released in 1998, called for the continued shift for mental health care from Riverview to the community. 

Meanwhile, the debate on what to do with Riverview continued. While the province continued to close buildings, people sought a way to preserve the history of the buildings and the lands.

The Burke Mountain Naturalists, the Riverview Horticultural Society and the BC Schizophrenic Society worked together to gather 22,000 signatures on petitions calling for protection of the Riverview lands. These petitions were presented to the BC Legislature in May of 2000 by Coquitlam MLA, John Cassmore.

The fight didn't stop there. In 2001, the Burke Mountain Naturalists called on three local municipalities (Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody) to pass resolutions calling for the preservation of the entire Riverview site and a strong continuing presence in the provision of mental health services. They were successful. The Riverview Nature Heritage Stewardship Group was formed - now Accommodation and Real Estate Services - as a forum for consulting with stakeholders on land use issues.

In 2001, the  PHSA - Provincial Health Services Authority - was established. It is one of six health authorities in BC, the other five are regional health authorities.

PHSA operates agencies such as BC Children’s Hospital, BC Transplant and the BC Cancer Agency, as well as specialized provincial health services. One of its agencies is BC Mental Health and Addiction Services, which provides specialized mental health services including the Adult Tertiary Psychiatry and Geriatric Psychiatry programs at Riverview Hospital.

Here's a look at the goings on at Riverview at the beginning of the 21st century.

The introduction of new medications have a dramatic effect on mental health care. In addition to treating positive symptoms and minimizing side effects, many of the drugs improve cognitive function.

Riverview offers three core programs:
Adult Tertiary Redevelopment, Adult Residential Transfer and Geriatric Psychiatry.

• Riverview research projects: 47
• Riverview staff: 1,800
• Hospital budget: $106 million
• Total patients: 662
• Total admissions: 229
• Discharges: 164

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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