50 years ago, in 1972, Jackie Hooper had an idea.
She’d just spent a healing summer at a Vancouver mental hospital, and wanted to create a supportive place for ex-patients to live as they reintegrated into the community. Coast Mental Health loved her idea, and together they established the first home of its kind in Vancouver’s West End, now called Hooper Apartments.
50 years later, Coast Mental Health has 1444 homes from Vancouver to Langley, which provide supports to people living with mental illness.
“People don’t necessarily realize we’re there, because we’re so integrated into the community. We don’t put up flashy signs, we’re just part of the neighbourhood,” says Susan Hancock from Coast Mental Health.
Housing, education and support services
Coast Mental Health is a non-profit registered charity which provides programming thanks to community donations and some government funding. Local health authorities provide clinical health care, and Coast Mental Health provides supports to help people living with mental illness live more independently.
- Housing: Coast Mental Health collaborates with BC Housing, local health authorities and other organizations to match clients with the type of housing that best supports their needs. From fully licensed community homes with 24/7 staffing to supported independent living, homes support recovery and help clients learn skills to live independently.
- Education & Employment: Coast Mental Health helps clients build skills and find meaningful work. Programs include Young Adult Culinary Skills Training, Landscaping with Heart, Social Crust Cafe & Catering, and special initiatives for young adults.
- Support services: Helping clients access existing government and community resources, manage their health and live richer lives. Many supports are available at Coast Mental Health homes, and they also operate two hubs that provide Outreach Services and daily community-based support services and programming.
“We also advocate for mental health supports, and have successfully encouraged investments in complex care. Coast plays a role in driving the conversation to ensure the community, media and government continue their support of mental health services,” Hancock says.
Mental health supports in Maple Ridge
Coast Mental Health partners with the Province, as part of its Rapid Response to Homelessness initiative, to provide homes for people experiencing homelessness in Maple Ridge. In May 2017, Anita’s Encampment was closed and many members of this community were provided new homes and supports through Coast Mental Health. Today, they provide 150 homes (three facilities) in this community. These housing models support tenants with complex needs: past-trauma, extreme poverty, chronic illness, mental illness and substance use.
Learn more about the history and accomplishments of Coast Mental Health by visiting www.coastmentalhealth.com/50years .