The Rivage - Mental illness

Since its beginning in 1999, the Rivage has lodged and given support to men 18 and older who have severe and persistent problems related to mental health. It works at keeping them in the community by breaking the pattern of going back and forth between hospital and street.

It is designed to help these men integrate and participate in the community as citizens in their own right. Individualized follow-up is offered according to the person’s needs in the areas of access to resources, demystification of the disease, empowerment and housing support.

Characteristics of the clientele
These men are struggling with mental health problems. For them, the Rivage is an option that allows them to remain stable without being hospitalized.

One characteristic common among the men accepted into the Rivage is their acquaintance with the hospital system which diagnosed them, often admitted them several times and continues to follow them up. Other widespread characteristics are their limited social network and a frequent history of alcohol and/or drug use.

The Rivage has a dual goal for the men it takes in: on the one hand, stability in their physical and mental health; on the other hand, the ability to take responsibility for their own needs. The team helps them maintain and increase their autonomy and improve their personal circumstances (as they wish and at their own pace).

The department guides and supports the residents who want to take steps to enter a new environment that fits their needs, such as supervised apartments or low-income housing.

Methods used at the Rivage
The Rivage’s therapeutic method is engaged in a way that is systemic. We endeavor working with a multidisciplinary approach that involves the intervention team, the resident’s family members and other mental health systems and/or resources that are available. These interact with one another for the welfare and development of the client’s full potential resulting in the empowerment of the individual. Our aim is towards recovery with an emphasis on the person’s strengths rather than their deficiencies with the aim of integrating them in society, encouraging them to go out in the world.

Admission criteria
Any person admitted to the Rivage must be referred by a hospital or another community organization and receive continued treatment as an out-patient.

Rivage team
The intervention workers are a multidisciplinary team consisting of qualified technicians or bachelor’s degree holders in social work, social science and psychology.

Services offered:

  • Individual follow-up (weekly individual meetings, one-on-one discussions, listening, crisis management and problem-solving, participation of workers in daily activities and in leisure-time activities of the residents, help in managing medication, appointments, budgets and taxes);
  • Support to maneuver through the medical and/or judicial systems;
  • Program of motivation-by-participation (general cleaning duties including the floors, supervising socialization activities, distributing snacks around the Centre).

The Rivage offers weekly activities for the residents such as:

  • Spiritual care (offred on a voluntary basis)
  • Music classes, individually or in groups, and practices for special seasonal events such as the Christmas meal at the Booth Center
  • Art-therapy
  • Tea services supervised and managed by the residents, every day except weekends
  • Art workshop managed by a resident, every morning of the week from 9 to 11am
  • Walkin activity
  • Board games
  • We also offer diverse weekly outings accompanied by intervention workers that range from going for coffee, talking or participating in activities all of which give value to the resident, opportunities to exchange and strengthen relationships and trust between them.

In addition, various activities are available to Rivage residents from time to time:

  • Sports nights in the TV room: the Super Bowl and Hockey Nights;
  • Insectarium, Planetarium and Biodôme;
  • Montreal Museum of Fine Arts;
  • Sugaring-off parties;
  • Outings to the park to play badminton or have a picnic;
  • BBQs;
  • Outings to the theatre;
  • Ecozoo
  • Summer outings to the Old Port;
  • Summer camp at Lake L’Achigan;
  • Art show: display of residents’ paintings, photos, drawings and poems

The activities are organized according to the interests of the intervention workers and the residents. We also promote interactions through daily sharing in their living environment with internal activities such as celebrating resident’s birthdays, movie nights, etc.

“At one point in my life, I was so intoxicated that I was psychotic. I did not know what was happening in me. Because I had no fixed address, I stayed overnight in a McDonald’s where I met a priest who made me realize that I was in a psychotic state. He directed me to resources such as the Louis-H. Lafontaine Hospital where I received psychiatric care. I was referred to the Gouvernail at the Salvation Army for more stable living quarters. After another psychotic episode, I was again hospitalized and after that, to stabilize me, I was transferred to the Rivage.

After all that had happened in my life, I began to have health problems. The pastor of the Booth Centre, Germain, went with me to the hospital and prayed for me. It gave me confidence in myself and my life began to change. Thanks to all the support that I received, my anxiety diminished, I accepted medical treatment and allowed the Lord into my life. I thank all the workers at the Rivage and the Booth Centre!”

A resident of the Rivage

The Salvation Army’s Booth Center
880 Guy St., Montreal (Quebec) H3J 1T4

© Armée du Salut, 2013. All rights reserved.
Update : September, 2016