Creating Home and Community for Mental Health: L’abri en Ville and Our Harbour visit Uue strie
The Unitarian Universalist Church in North Hatley (Uue strie) will host a special service and workshop led by volunteers and residents of L’abri en Ville in Montreal and Our Harbour on the South Shore. The events are planned for Sunday, September 18, at 201 Main St., North Hatley, with the service at 10 a.m., and the workshop at 1 p.m. All interested persons and organizations are invited to attend.
L’abri en Ville and Our Harbour are sister programs that offer longterm community-supported housing for adults with serious mental illness. The housing consists of apartments shared by three residents. A team of volunteers for each apartment offer the residents personal relationships through social activities and life-management support for tasks such as banking, budgeting, meal planning and cleaning.
Creating Home & Community for Mental Health is the topic of the 10 a.m. program, and will feature a conversation between Carolyne Harrison, a volunteer, and residents from both L’Abri en Ville and Our Harbour. Eleanor Beattie and Audrey Bean, both volunteers and board members of L’Abri, will offer opening words and a story for all ages. A
children’s program and refreshments are also provided.
The 90-minute workshop at 1 p.m. - Creating Mental Health through an Active Community - will focus more specifically on the L’Abri en Ville/Our Harbour model and experiences, with a dialogue about possibilities in the Estrie region. It will begin with a 20-minute talk by Dr. Natasha Bird on the evolution of mental health care in the Eastern Townships. Persons interested in participating are asked to register in advance by contacting 819-889-2520 or info@uuestrie. ca. Registration includes a lunch preceding the workshop, for a suggested donation of $5.
L’Abri en Ville was formed in 1990 by the Inter-Church Social Service Planning Committee, representing 30 churches and synagogues in downtown Montreal, as a response to an urgent need for stable living conditions for people with mental illness. The aim was to counteract the revolving door of frequent hospitalizations faced by persons lacking adequate social support. According to feedback from residents and health care providers, the L’Abri model has proven successful in helping residents improve their quality of life, achieve personal goals, and reduce the chance of hospitalization.
“I can look at any apartment in L’Abri and see the success stories; people who have struggled with their mental illnesses and have not given up and are out there volunteering or working and coping,” wrote one resident.
The non-profit program is based on the C.A.R.E. model – Create A Rehabilitative Environment – with a focus on forging stable and long-term social networks. L’Abri en Ville has helped develop a network of similar programs, and has authored a guidebook to help new groups in Canada develop their own projects. More information regarding the four groups in the network is available at www.labrienville.org,