Editor, The News:
Last week my wife Sheri wrote a her opinion about reopening Riverview and some services she believes Riverview provided. Somehow my name ended up as the author.
I have worked with the mentally ill for 31 years. Not with the clients in Riverview Hospital, but with the criminally insane. I will say that we did take advantage of all the services that Riverview could provide to our clients, such as the dentist office, x-ray department, physiotherapy department, podiatrist, optometrists, North lawn consultation – specialist doctors, North one Medical unit, their pharmacy, and a lab. These are only the departments I personally took my guys to. I’m sure there were plenty more on the Riverview grounds.
As for the Riverview patients, yes my wife was correct that on the beautiful 244 acres that are left, the patients had a recreation hall with coffee shop and bowling alleys for socializing, a bank, a tucks shop (store), woodworking shop, pastoral support and many forms of therapy and counselling.
The days of lock-up and throw away the key have been gone for a long time now. Even back in the day you did not have to do that at Riverview when you had a buffer zone of hundreds of acres. Group homes do have their place for some clients, but in my opinion Riverview did work and was a strong community with services, jobs, social interaction and support.
Now is the government willing to give back to the people some of the most beautiful and expensive real estate in the province? – That’s the question!