The breathtaking community of Campbell River is world-renown for a few things. Located on the east coast of Vancouver Island, it is a short 1.5 hour drive from Nanaimo, and boasts pristine scenery and wildlife, snow-capped mountains, and claims the title of Salmon Capital of Canada. This thriving city is on the Salish Sea and has an abundance of Chinook, Coho, and Sockeye Salmon; residents and visitors can enjoy fishing year-round.
In addition to low crime and low unemployment rates, this city ensures its community members thrive by providing important services. In particular, the Campbell River Head Injury Support Society (CRHISS) serves nearly five hundred survivors of brain injury and their families with programs, supports, advocacy, education, and housing.
CRHISS considers their staff and clients to be one big family. Their approach is client-centred, meaning the goals and desires of the person and / or families they serve is at the forefront of all decisions and planning.
Clients of CRHISS can participate in a variety of programming including cooking, gardening, and art therapy. In this photo, the art therapy participants continued to enjoy learning about watercolours even during the pandemic. Local artist, Jill Brody, leads the art therapy program.
Other programs include:
- Life Skill’s After Injury – a large selection of classes and courses dedicated to working on day-to-day life skills lost after injury. New programming monthly, something for everyone!
- Making Headway – This survivors group promises a mind workout. Coffee and snacks provided.
- Anger Management – A 9- week course that looks at and deals with anger and provides coping strategies.
- Peer Support Training – This program is tailored for survivors to get a chance to learn mentoring skills and work with fellow brain injury survivors.
- Beginners Technology – Interactive Computer Classes for those with a laptop, iPad or iPhone and need a little help navigating or who want to master his or her computer skills.
- What’s Next – A closed coffee group offering peer support.
- Balance Within – Low Impact exercise group
- Caregivers – Meet once monthly for a ‘ lunch date ‘. Ongoing support provided also.
- Yoga Therapy – Working on body and mind.
- Mind Over Matter – This is a closed program aimed at enhancing one’s well-being through a full range of recreational, social, and therapeutic programs. If interested, clients are to contact the office.
Housing – CRHISS provides residents of Campbell River with several supportive housing options.
These four transitional units provide housing and supports for survivors for up to 3 years. The four units are above the CRHISS office and programming space. Residents can access the following services from staff: GP attendance/tracking, medication tracking, cooking – 1:1 or cooking provided, and financial management assistance and socialization skills.
This building offers an integrated housing program for a mix of brain injury survivors and market renters. As this building is home to many vulnerable individuals and children, renters must meet the set criteria to be suitable for this housing.
Linda’s Place – CRHISS’ newest housing project, is named after Shelley Howard, Executive Director’s mom. Linda was a strong supporter of CRHISS and always helping. She passed away in 2007.
This newly opened building provides long-term, integrated housing for a 50/50 spilt of clients and market renters; it already has a significant waitlist which speaks to the need. The units are a mix of Bachelor suites, 1 bedrooms, 2 bedrooms and 3-bedroom apartments, and two Wheelchair accessible suites.
The unique difference with Linda’s Place is that it has office and a locum space on the ground floor. With this space, CRHISS will be able to provide clients with Brain Injury specific medical services, currently only available in Victoria and Vancouver.
The Campbell River Head Injury Support Society may have been considered a small organization given they had only three full-time and two part-time staff. The team recently welcomed an additional full-time maintenance person and a part-time staff person. It may still be a small organization, but they are mighty! Here is a photo of CRHISS staff building a shed and proving they are willing to do whatever it takes to support those they serve.