David Reville Ephemera

David Reville Ephemera

smiling white man with mustache wearing jacket, dress shirt and tie in gardenDavid Reville was born in Brantford, Ontario, in 1943. He studied history at the University of Toronto and went on to law school. In 1965, he was diagnosed with bipolar affective disorder and spent two years in and out of mental hospitals. He published his first criticism of the mental health system in 1967. 

After a decade of community activism, Reville went into politics. He was elected as an alderman for a downtown Toronto ward in 1980, and again in 1982. He ran provincially for the New Democratic Party (NDP), and was elected in 1985 and 1987. He raised mental health issues both at City Council and in the Ontario Legislature. He was especially gratified when his private members’ bill brought roomers and boarders under the protection of the Landlord and Tenant Act for the very first time. He was among the first “consumers” to be appointed to the National Board of the Canadian Mental Health Association, and he crisscrossed the country promoting The Framework for Support, a conceptual model for supporting people with mental health issues in the community. In 1988, he delivered a paper called “User Involvement in Mental Health Services in Canada” at a conference at the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom. This paper was co-authored with Kathryn Church.

Reville decided not to run for reelection in 1990; however, when the NDP won the election, he stayed on as the Special Advisor to Premier Bob Rae. In 1994, he was appointed as the Chair of the Ontario Advocacy Commission. When the next government shut the Commission down, David opened a consultancy called David Reville & Associates (DRA). One of his biggest clients was the newly-formed Centre for Addiction and Mental Health; DRA also provided consulting services to psychiatric survivor groups from Brockville to Kenora.

In 2004, David was invited to teach “Mad People’s History” at the School of Disability Studies at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. He also pioneered a Faculty of Arts course called “A History of Madness,” a course that proved to be so popular that there are now six sections being offered each year. David retired in 2014. He is especially proud of the fact that several mad-identified young scholars have taught courses that he has pioneered. In 2015, Queen’s University awarded him an honorary LLD (a doctor of laws).

We encourage you to browse through his ephemera collection found on this page’s right-hand menu.