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Letter: Riverview Hospital in Coquitlam provided valuable help to patients, families

The Editor, Re. “Mentally ill need R’view” (Letters, The Tri-City News, Jan. 20).
At a number of public meetings over the last few years, many have spoken in favour of the Riverview Hospital grounds being used, once again, to help people with mental health problems.

The Editor,

Re. “Mentally ill need R’view” (Letters, The Tri-City News, Jan. 20).

I was very pleased to see the letter from Helen MacIsaac regarding Riverview and the need to take that important second look for the sake of the many current and future persons with mental health needs.

My former staff and I in child protection services were opposed to seeing the downsizing of this much-needed facility that provided care, safety and treatment for the mentally ill. (Our reason was explained and for some reason not made public. It was upsetting to those in authority to have push-back by staffers.)

Nevertheless, we foresaw the issue of children being born to a mother who would not be in a position to care for the child. Advocates took an opposing position, saying we were only concerned about money and not the rights of the patient — and we lost.

Sadly, in one case, we had to provide three shifts of homemaker service seven days a week. This was an administrative nightmare where homemakers were fired by the mother and if it was not for the intervention of a neighbour, we would have had a very real tragedy.

Riverview was safe and patients were happy. When released into the community, all the promises of government for a better life served some but many have ended up on the streets of Vancouver.

So thank you, Ms. MacIsaac for your letter to the editor. And it is also nice to have our mayor, Richard Steward, state his opinion that Riverview should be given a second life because the need is greater than ever before. Developers who want that property have truly been given an upper cut by both the community and city council.

Brian Robinson, Coquitlam