The North Shore Schizophrenia Society is no more
Last revised November 17, 2017
• Most of my time is taken up now with
Riverview Village Intentional Community Society and its
proposal for the Riverview Lands. It's a great idea,
first put forward in 2014, but the wheels of power -
ultimately the provincial cabinet will decide - are turning
very slowly. The society's website provides details.
As of November 2017, I've begun updating this website.
I had virtually ignored it for years, especially since I
haven't been writing economic and political commentary with
any frequency now. It's interesting how much
technology has changed in the interim. Many of the
things I originally envisioned for the website, like feedback, are now handled on
originating media websites where articles first appear, and
some other functions I envisioned are now more appropiate
for Facebook, and for that matter on Twitter. Still,
websites fulfill a core purpose and are far from being
eclipsed by new social media.
• My epic historical novel, set
not surprisingly in Canada, hit 160,000 words relatively
quickly, but alas, I haven't been able to get back to it for
several years. I took such a
interest in the characters I was creating that it soon
became clear a series of several large volumes would be
required for me to cover the 30 years planned and to get to the end of my story. I call
it War and Peace times 10. I hope to return to it
mid-1990s and especially from 2004 on, I was heavily
involved in the North Shore Schizophrenia Society (NSSS), a
family peer organization providing family support and
advocacy. Our son has schizophrenia. My wife,
Marguerite, was a mainstay of the organization and
in 1995 established its ground-breaking Family Support
Centre, covering all serious mental illness. A brief description of our work
can be found on my Biography page, and
you'll see as well, in Commentaries/Miscellaneous, several
articles on the subject of serious mental illness reflecting
Together with other volunteers, we
developed the organization from a support group and a couple
of other programs into a dynamic engine of activity covering
five major areas - support. education, information,
awareness and advocacy. A key program was
Marguerite's intensive one-on-one family peer
support and crisis counselling. As far as I know, it
was unique in North America. Another key program was
the education course,
Family-to-Family, in which I played a major role.
NSSS in that period, from 1995 to 2015,
gained a reputation for really helping people. Also,
largely because of Marguerite's front-line support
work, crisis case after crisis case, we came
to know more about key areas of the mental health "system"
than the people running it and working in it.
Times change, though,
as governing boards change. Some programs, like
one-on-one support and advocacy, have, unfortunately, since declined. Now the society is called the Pathways
Serious Mental Illness Society, de-emphasizing
schizophrenia, the most chronic and disabling of the major
mental illnesses. Alas, families on the North Shore
coping with an ill-loved one with schizophrenia will no
longer have a home of their own, which lay behind the
creation of the Family Support Centre at its beginnings.
The North Shore Schizophrenia Society, for its 34
years of existence, was something to be proud of.
Marguerite and I will have fond memories of the valuable
work that was done under its aegis and of the people we
worked with in those most rewarding days.