October 20, 2009
Schizophrenia Society expands peer support
services for families
of people with schizophrenia and other serious
forms of mental illness
North Shore Schizophrenia Society is pleased to
announce the hiring of Christine Buttkus for the
newly created position of Outreach Coordinator
for the Sea to Sky Corridor. Ms. Buttkus, who
lives in Whistler, is well known for her work
with non-profit organizations throughout the
"We're delighted to have Christine on our
team," says NSSS president Herschel Hardin.
"We've wanted to establish this position in the
Sea to Sky for four or five years, but only now
have been able to manage it. It's gratifying to
know that families in the Sea to Sky with
mentally ill relatives will now have easier
access to our programs."
based at its Family Support Centre in West
Vancouver, covers all serious mental illnesses -
bipolar disorder, major depression, anxiety
disorders (including obsessive-compulsive
disorders) and borderline personality disorder,
as well as schizophrenia. Since the spring of
2008, it has offered a family support group in
Squamish. It hopes, now, to provide its
ground-breaking education course,
Family-to-Family, in Squamish, starting in the
New Year. Both programs are open to all those
in the Corridor who are interested.
Society has always had a few members in the
Squamish-Whistler-Pemberton area, some of whom
have travelled to West Vancouver for programs.
One-on-one peer support and crisis counselling
have also been available by telephone. The NSSS
Sea to Sky initiative brings availability of
some key programs closer to home.
Services are led by volunteers with special
training who have first-hand experience with the
challenges of having a family member living with
a serious mental illness. Thus NSSS's slogan,
"Families Helping Families." NSSS family
support services play an important role in
giving family members a place to turn to and in
helping them cope.
Programs are free of charge, notes Buttkus.
"Given the geography of the Corridor, we need to
hear from people about their support needs so we
can determine when, where and how best to help.
We donít want anyone to have to struggle in
to give readers a sense of the numbers on the
North Shore and the Sea-to-Sky:
1,750 have schizophrenia.
3,850 suffer from bipolar disorder
Including depression and anxiety disorders,
42,000 people on the North Shore and Sea-to-Sky
will personally experience a mental illness at
least once during their lifetime. Add in family
members who become involved and we're looking at
a significant segment of the population who are
more information about programs, services and
upcoming education events, please contact
Christine at email@example.com,
604-932-7543 or 604-849-2252 or visit the NSSS
website at www.northshoreschizophrenia.org. For
information on the Sea to Sky Family Support
Group, please contact Sue at 604-898-9372 or by
e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Christine Buttkus, Sea to Sky Outreach
Cheryl Olney, Executive Director, 604-926-0856
Herschel Hardin, President, 604-922-7153
North Shore Schizophrenia Society (NSSS) was
founded in 1983. Its Family Support Centre,
located in West Vancouver, opened its doors in
1995. NSSS's mission is to alleviate the
suffering caused by schizophrenia and other
serious mental illness.
is a family-support organization, providing free
help for those with mentally ill relatives. It
offers personal support, information, education,
awareness programs and advocacy, and sponsors
some social events. Its serves all of the North
Shore, Bowen Island, and the Sea to Sky Corridor
(Lions Bay, Squamish, Whistler, Pemberton and
points between), and also handles calls from
further afield, many of them generated by its
work is based on a family peer-support model,
where core activities, in particular the family
support group, Family-to-Family education
course, and one-on-one counselling, are provided
by trained family members.