tri201309192431798-jpgBy Diane Strandberg – The Tri-City News
Published: September 19, 2013 9:00 AM
Updated: September 19, 2013 9:48 AM

Another voice has been added to the chorus demanding the provincial government reopen Riverview Hospital — and this one has direct experience helping people with mental illness.

The Port Coquitlam-based New View Society, which provides housing, job skills training and recreational programs for people with mental health concerns, wants Riverview’s buildings and grounds to be reopened to provide services to people with mental health and addiction issues.

In a letter, New View chair Irene McDermott said that while de-institutionalization was a welcome and essential step in the evolution of mental health services, there are gaps in community care that could be filled with new, creative programs and approaches developed in partnership with community agencies.

“Gaps in service, however, exist for a variety of reasons that are not meeting individual’s mental health needs within our communities,” McDermott wrote. “The cost of not meeting the needs of these individuals and families is too high.”

Other groups calling for more mental health services include local mayors and the Vancouver police chief. The issue was expected to be raised at the Union of BC Municipalities Convention this week.

Meanwhile, New View Society is celebrating its 40th anniversary with an open house and official ceremony at its clubhouse at 2050 Mary Hill Rd. in PoCo today.