Revelstoke Awareness & Outreach Program celebrates 10 years

Revelstoke Awareness & Outreach Program helped spread awareness of mental health issues over past 10 years.

From left: RAOP members Larry Camozzi

When Peter Waters helped found the Revelstoke Awareness & Outreach Program 10 years ago, there wasn’t much discussion about mental health issues.

Since then, he feels the conversation has come a long way.

“10 years ago there was hardly anything out there at all,” he told me last week.

“Really, the awareness in Revelstoke about mental health issue has come leaps and bounds, and thank God.”

I spoke to Waters, who has bipolar disorder, during RAOP’s 10th anniversary open house at their club house next to the Regent last Wednesday.

The group was founded as a way for people with mental health issues to come together, talk about their problems and be social.

“There was nowhere for people like myself to come to be with other people who are in the same situation,” said Waters. “All it was before was going to see a psychiatrist or counsellor. There was nowhere for us to be together.”

RAOP was founded with about 20 members. The group has lost members — some moved away, while others died. Now, there’s a core group of about a dozen who head downtown to take part in things like games day, take art classes, or just sit and talk.

“It’s a safe place for people to come to coffee, chat about what’s going in their lives. It just a community who have similar issues,” said Waters.

Cecilia Roebuck, who has schizophrenia, said RAOP keeps her busy and gets her out of the house. “All the time I’m home, it’s not good for me,” she said. “It’s been helping me in a lot of different ways.”

Jackie Heppell, another founding member, said many people with mental health issues feel a stigma and might tend to hide at home. RAOP gives them a safe place to get out.

“We can’t stay at home,” she said. “This is a great place to come. It’s lots of fun, it’s safe.”

Last month, RAOP held an art show at the Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre. Roebuck and Heppell both took part. Waters said it was a “great source of pride” to the group.

“What’s exciting about RAOP, the art group, they don’t copy what they see,” he said. “Each will interpret that in their own way. That’s very, very exciting.”

Waters said the conversation around mental health has increased dramatically in Revelstoke over the years. He noted there’s much more talk in the schools, and the series of articles on mental health written by Dr. David Smith and published by the Review.

“One of the things I meant to do with creating RAOP is to help remove the stigma to mental health,” said Water. “We all have different hurdles in our lives. This is one of them. It’s no different to someone struggling with their tricky heart. These are all disabilities.”

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Revelstoke City Council wants feedback on proposed budget

It calls for a 6% property tax increase

WEB POLL: Would you like to see a new highway built between B.C. and Central Alberta?

Building another highway through the mountains would shave 95 km from Kamloops to Red Deer

LETTER: Ex councillor weighs in on deferral of raises for Revelstoke mayor and council

After Steven Cross resigned in protest, proposed raises were removed from the budget

DJs and bands playing this weekend in Revelstoke

Andy Siegel Special to the Review This weekend there’s another amazing line… Continue reading

Okanagan divers ready to take on 2020 B.C. Winter Games

The athletes have been training four days a week

B.C.’s soda drink tax will help kids lose weight, improve health, says doctor

Dr. Tom Warshawski says studies show sugary drinks contribute to obesity

A&W employees in Ladysmith get all-inclusive vacation for 10 years of service

Kelly Frenchy, Katherine Aleck, and Muriel Jack are headed on all-expenses-paid vacations

B.C. mom’s complaint about ‘R word’ in children’s ministry email sparks review

In 2020, the ‘R’ word shouldn’t be used, Sue Robins says

B.C., federal ministers plead for meeting Wet’suwet’en dissidents

Scott Fraser, Carolyn Bennett says they can be in Smithers Thursday

EDITORIAL: Revisiting cannabis regulations

Recent retail license application has brought up concerns about present policy in Summerland

Guidelines regulate Summerland cannabis stores

The municipality’s policy, 300.6 establishes the 50-metre buffer zone around schools and parks

Largest aircraft to operate at YLW begins service to Toronto this summer

The Boeing 767-300ER will increase seat availability for flights to Toronto by 40 per cent

B.C. budget fails to ‘excite’ Kelowna business community

Chamber says Budget 2020 lacks a clearly defined competitiveness strategy

Most Read