Editor, The News:
Re: Warehousing mentally ill is cruel (Sidewinder, Sept. 6).
Coming 39 years ago here to B.C. from the Netherlands, I do look at some aspects differently than people who grew up here.
I never understood how a hospital for people with mental illness could just close. If this would have been a hospital for people living with cancer or AIDS, would there have been a outcry?
I have worked in my old country in institutions for people who are mentally challenged. We did not close those down. They were updated.
After 40 years, I went back to one of those and was amazed. All the big buildings were torn down, new apartments were built.
Some people do very well living in the community, others do not. The Riverview grounds are beautiful, so why not break down all the old buildings and build new ones?
I do agree with Mr. Macdougall that our government did not do the follow-up in the communities that it should have done. But I do know people who left Riverview to live in the communities and lost the work they did have while living at Riverview, and nothing was available for them to work while in the communities.
Why was there not a public outcry over closing Riverview? Because of the stigma, or because we do not understand – and don’t want to understand – what mental illness does to people?
Why do our police officers not get proper education how to deal with mentally ill people or any other problems that people have who live on the street?
To become a RCMP officer, the training is only six months, with no psychology training. So why not educate our police better how to deal with real life?
Just some questions that I have.
Geeske de Boer Poker