Thursday Movie Mondays on 3B
This was a full year of showing up, (volunteering), weekly to screen a film for any patients who were interested to join me in the quiet room on 3B, one of the psych wards in the Eric Martin Pavilion. In addition to the regular Movie Mondays I ran this programming each Thursday from March 24, 2010 to April 28, 2011, except for month of July. Each week I would make up posters and post on the ward for next week. I’d haul the projector and a 10ft screen and sound system up to the quiet room, pop some corn, introduce myself as the Movie Monday guy and ex-patient, roll the film. Then after the show hang out and discuss the film or whatever else patients felt like talking about. Having spent time on the ward myself and suffered some dreary, chaotic tv choices, I thought I might be able to provide more engaging option. It was also a way for a patient to connect with a peer who has had a fairly positive life after having been a patient.
Cory Maruca, a younger man who experienced schizophrenia and is now a peer worker on the Mental Health Response Team (police, social worker, peer)and Support Worker joined in for some screenings. We could speak as people who live with both these conditions, able to answer questions like“what is the difference between Bipolar and Schizophrenia?” Apparently that was something not explained to one patient, even after several hospitalizations. One kudo from a patient who I ran into later at the gym was that the TMM program on 3B“ was the most helpful of all the PSR [psycho-social rehab] offerings” for him during his stay in EMP. On winding up: I discontinued the program [end of April2011] as I was so busy. My garden maintenance business was in full swing. There was also too much competition from hockey playoffs and nothing back from managers in the hospital wards. They were encouraging but not forthcoming. Also the hospital was in flux because it was attempting to move to the new Patient Care Centre, a new site a couple of blocks away. Meanwhile a young woman who deals with anorexia & bipolar, has a mum too with bipolar, started weekend films which seemed to be popular and well supported by the nurses. She had been encouraged to do a library cart program and last I heard was waiting to see if they encourage her with more than verbal praise….
I guess what I was looking for was an honorarium for this kind of initiative, (I did ask for an honorarium at least for Cory) recognizing it as a valuable service. To be formally valued as a PSR resource, regularly recommended by staff for patients, was what I wished rather than just a volunteer initiative that one would do, almost in spite of the formal system.