Coaching, Creativity, and Community
Last week was ripe with issues that are close to my heart. This page I created as a way to get it out of my head and recorded somewhere. Laying out the issues on the page first with the newspaper articles and pictures, then layering over them and changing them using acrylic paint, spray paint stenciling, writing and crossing out the negative words as a prophetic gesture, covering over the negative with beautiful flowers, hearts and butterflies as a symbol that change and transformation exists and can happen. Spirals and circles symbolize unity, which is my prayer for these issues with the people, the workers and the government. I chose the colour green because it means growth and healing. Purple represents royalty and values and gold to me, gives hope.
The first issue was the closure of the cold weather shelter program here in the Tri-cities. This came as a shock to myself and many others, including the Pastors of the church I attend. I am so thankful for the Pastors who stood up and challenged city hall on this decision and came up with a solution!!! There will be a shelter program happening again this year, thanks to those who stepped up and fought for what is right. It is a real joy to know that I attend a church who cares about these people and are willing to fight for justice on their behalf.
The second issue is one that has hung around in limbo for about 10 years now, the closure of Riverview Hospital in Coquitlam. A proposal presented to our Premier, Christy Clark, to re-open the hospital fully and create a center of excellence for mental health but it was turned down. The sad thing is, with all the closures of mental healthcare facilities, many of the people who needed their services have ended up on the streets, unable to cope and take care of themselves. For some, the full integration program (which they put into place after shutting down asylum type facilities) has worked but for many, especially those with severe mental illness, it hasn’t worked. Unfortunately, severe mental illness requires a higher level of care in order for them to function at their best and be able to live a happy life. Freedom of choice only truly happens when a person is capable of making a rational, healthy decision, otherwise it isn’t freedom at all, it is bondage and it isn’t a choice at all, it is slavery. Slavery to an illness that blurs reality, makes one paranoid, fearful and psychotic. How can one make a healthy, good, sound decision in that state. Sadly, even with taking meds, this state comes and goes, like being on a roller coaster ride. Without the proper facilities and care the general public ends up being affected by the illness and it’s effects and the police and emergency rooms get bombarded with dealing with the effects and fallout of a society who does not take care of its people, all of its people. We have gone from a system who operated at one extreme (the asylum) to the other extreme (full integration). It is time to admit it is not working and come up with a solution, likely would fall somewhere in the middle of that spectrum of extremes.
Everyone deserves healthcare, whatever illness they have, why is mental illness so different?