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

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

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
43 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

368 cases in the region remain active

A real estate sign is pictured in Vancouver, Tuesday, June, 12, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Okanagan-Shuswap real estate market continues hot start to 2021

Sales in February were up more than 100 per cent over last year, reports the Association of Interior Realtors

John Hordyk said it isn’t fair to just look at COVID-19 deaths as many survivors are experiencing long-term impacts, himself included. (Photo by Rachel Muise)
Not getting better: Revelstoke man diagnosed with post-COVID-19 syndrome

‘I hope the damage isn’t long term, but it could be permanent’

Phase four of the Kicking Horse Canyon project will twin the winding stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway just east of Golden. (file photo)
Trans-Canada Highway reduced to one lane east of Golden

It’s the first of the Kicking Horse Canyon Phase 4 closures which will ramp up in the coming weeks

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

A protest has been planned for March 5, 2020 over Penticton council’s decision to reject an application from BC Housing to keep an emergency winter shelter open over a year longer than originally planned. (Jesse Day - Western News)
‘Bring your tent’: Protest planned in Penticton’s Gyro Park over winter shelter closure

Protesters plan to show council ‘what the result of their decision will look like’

Although B.C. has not made masks mandatory in public indoor spaces, some business owners are requiring all customers to wear them before entering their store. (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
EDITORIAL: Heightened tension over face masks

Incidents of anger and conflicts over mandated masks happening too frequently

The City of Vancouver estimates there are 3,500 Canada geese in the city right now, and that number is growing. (Bruce Hogarth)
Help tame Vancouver’s Canada goose population by reporting nests: park officials

The city is asking residents to be on the lookout so staff can remove nests or addle eggs

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

Penticton mayor John Vassilaki responded to BC Housing minster David Eby’s remarks that the city has put themselves at risk of creating a tent city Wednesday, March 3, 2020. (Western News file photo)
Penticton mayor calls out BC Housing minister for ‘irresponsible fear-mongering’

Council recently rejected BC Housing’s request to keep a winter shelter open longer than first planned

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

Most Read