Pathways Serious Mental Illness Society is a unique, peer-led, volunteer, grassroots society of families with a shared vision to alleviate the suffering caused by serious mental illness (SMI).
Our mission is to inform, support, educate, and advocate for all families suffering from or with serious mental illness.
Formerly the North Shore Schizophrenia Society, Pathways has worked for 30 years to reduce the stigma of mental illness and to intervene in a health care system that usually turns away seriously ill persons under the misguided premise that “unless the person is harming himself or others” they cannot be helped. Yet, the ill person has lost their job, their place in society, is estranged from family and friends, is frightened and paranoid.
For distraught and despairing families, Pathways can activate the resources and professional support needed to admit the ill family member into the hospital for necessary and often life-saving treatment.
Serious mental illnesses are neurological disorders that should be treated with the same dignity, respect and quality of care as any other serious illness such as cancer or heart disease.
Through empirical evidence, we know that family caregivers are a critical component of the health care continuum. When services are connected to patients and families, readmissions are reduced, health outcomes improve and costs go down.
Ignorance is replaced with understanding through presentations to hundreds of earnest and open high school students every year. They listen and question our volunteers, one of whom has lived experience. The youth also learn about symptoms and the importance of getting help early.
We host 4 public lectures annually at the HOpe Centre in North Vancouver’s Lions Gate Hospital on topical mental health issues with experts and guest speakers. These are amazing learning opportunities where you can ask an expert directly.
We attain knowledge and empowerment by teaching a 12-week Family to Family course that transforms the lives of the people who take it and of their extended families. These families move from despair to hope; from denial to advocacy. They earn the right to sit at the table and be part of the care team.
One to one sessions and peer support groups are vehicles to share experiences; provide empathy and guidance so you are not alone; have on-going support.
Having built a strong reputation for 30 years on the North Shore, we have expanded our reach into Squamish, Whistler, Vancouver, and the Tri-Cities. We plan to do more.
Pathways services are free so no one needing help is turned away thanks to our volunteers, donors and cost controls.
A uniquely independent society, Pathways guard our right to speak for ourselves and those who cannot speak for themselves; to ask the difficult questions and to press for better solutions and lasting change. To create together a kinder and better-informed society that is responsive and able to serve those in need.
Our next free upcoming lecture will be featuring Drs. Apu Chakraborty and Allan Burgmann, answering questions about “ A discussion about the Future of Mental Health” at the HOpe Centre in North Vancouver on May 29th at 7 PM.