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The Need for Community Based Programs for Former Psychiatric Patients

Publisher:  Community Services Council,, St. John's, Canada
Year Published:  1981  
Resource Type:  Article

Abstract:  St. Johns, like other cities across Canada, has been facing an increase in the number of former psychiatric patients who are largely left to their own resources for survival in the city. Much of the "deinstitutionalization" that has taken place has resulted in a great financial savings for psychiatric institutions, but it has not resulted in support for new, community based resources in St. John's. the author documents this reality and proposed changes that would redress this situation.

In reviewing the service system present at the time of the report, the author concludes that community resources are almost non-existent for the former psychiatric patient. This is especially the case for those who have little access to family or other supports. At the time of the study, Gower Street United Church Wednesday Social Group was the only community based program directed to the needs of former psychiatric patients. This social group consists of ten to fifteen people who meet regularly for socialization and recreation.

Using the information from his interview with former psychiatric patients and concerned workers, the author them proposes a variety of community based resources including housing alternatives, recreation programs, employment opportunities and coordination of services. For example, at the time of the report there was no transitional housing in St. John's. however, the united Church was planning (and has since implemented) the re-opening of Emmanuel House as a residence for younger, recently released patients who have no other options. In addition, however, the author sees a need for other alternatives such as coop housing or shared apartments.

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