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Raven’s Story

Raven’s Story

~ As Told By Her Father

School photoBorn Linda Irene Leach in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada in 1970, Raven enjoyed a normal and fun childhood and was the first of three children.  Our family enjoyed our time together visiting playgrounds, rivers, the big rock in Okotoks, burying each other in fall leaves and never worried about returning home with muddy faces or dusty pants.

We built a ski home on the Panorama ski hill in British Columbia and skiing was second nature to Raven and her siblings.The kids were delighted when one time I fell into tree well on Panorama Ski Hill.  Eventually we moved to Red Deer with its great ski hill. In 1982 when Raven was 12 she started to have great difficulty handling math. Her mother and I worked every day to help her, but the retention of math was not in the cards for Raven. As her performance in math dropped, so did her behaviour, and she began acting poorly at school. As parents, we continued to try to help and even had the math teacher and Raven join in a meeting outside the school. We hoped that neutral ground would help Raven’s confidence.  However, nothing seemed to help her math dilemma despite her mother and I working with her daily.

Friends of ours had a situation almost exactly the same with their son and by luck they found he had a learning disability. Learning disabilities are neurological dysfunctions that can affect the mathematical and language areas of learning.

The Leach Family GirlsRaven’s behaviour at school, and now at home, as well, worsened. She was transferred to a special unit for problem students,and began having two or three day absences from home. Years later I was told she had been terribly abused by her peers and had begun taking drugs. Life had become chaotic for her.

We went with Raven to a psychologist specializing in learning disabilities. She was assessed and diagnosed with a learning disability in the area of math, consequently her ability to think sequentially was affected. While learning disabilities have nothing to do with mental illness, Raven’s inability to think things all the way to conclusions did cause her problems. Her behaviour problems in school continued and she was put in a special class in a downtown Red Deer location. It seemed to her mother and I that her associates in this school worsened her behaviour through association.

We learned of a fine school for the learning disabled in Calgary and we appealed to the Red Deer Public School Broad for a placement in this school. The appeal process turned out to be problematic and the school board fought furiously to deny the placement.

GraduationThe corner stone of the school board denial was a letter from the school board physiologist to the superintendent. It was two pages of misinformation about Raven. Her mother and I had third party witnesses present at the appeal who could undeniably refute remarks made by the school board psychologist in his letter. Witnesses came to the appeal from Calgary, Edmonton, and points in between. They never got to testify. The school board took a break and never returned. So much for the appeal process and due process at the Red Deer Public School District .

Raven really impressed her mother and me with the thorough way she handled her part of the appeal. She was great! Her remarks were so well presented, I was tearfully proud,

So, with some effort we were able to place Raven in the school specifically for the learning disabled in Calgary by our own means. Raven spent a year and a half there and completed grade eleven in Red Deer.

At the age of 17 Raven decided  on her own to leave home  and that same year her mother passed away. Raven took up residence in Calgary and used her creative and artistic talents to create a little business of her own. Her courage and endeavor made me proud.

I remember what fun we had assembling a very attractive gift wrap store that Raven designed. She featured hand made specialty papers and her store was beautiful. but her valor and  wonderful endeavors were dashed repeatedly by mental crisis.

One thing Raven had was persistence and she found several good jobs but they too were lost to one mental crisis after another. It was in Calgary that at 18 she suffered a mental breakdown that landed her in a psychiatric ward. She was diagnosed at that time with bi-polar disorder.

She began living in cycles of high mental performance followed by a mental breakdown (crash) and her crashes included many delusions. Her delusions varied from being a nuisance up to being traumatic, fearful events. Her delusions were so real to her that I believe that they actually might have caused her to suffer long term trauma or even post traumatic stress disorder.

During her second stint in Calgary Raven enjoyed the company of a young man of Jamaican heritage. She became pregnant and realized that her mental illness would make her unable to provide a stable home and parenting for her baby.She began an exhaustive, and thorough, search to find parents for her child. She scoured Western Canada to find the most wonderful parents you could imagine for her unborn baby. On the first day of the babies life I was privileged to hold her as the proud mother watched the proud grandfather admire her child.

Raven’s child was the pride and love of her life! She kept in touch all through the years. She would excitedly announce every accomplishment of her beautiful little girl. Raven and her daughter kept  loving contact to the very end. I’m sure that love will never die.

Raven found a young man who was very good for her, a native Canadian artist with writing skills that seemed to call him to be a playwright. His calm assured way of approaching life sustained Raven and he was able to weather the storms of Raven’s bi-polar existence. Because of this man and  her exposure to Native Canadian culture, Linda Leach adopted the name Raven. Their times together were wonderful, except for crisis times. I remember sitting with her in their living room amoung the wood chips,watching her friend carve a west coast style eagle. He was good! He even allowed Raven to paint some of his carvings in the black and red paint of the West Coast Indian Art.

After quite some time, they parted company and Raven began a western Canadian Odyssey. For years, she was caught in the highs and lows of bi-polar,schizophrenic tendency, personality disorder and substance abuse. Yet, often when Raven was experiencing or approaching or descending from a manic state, her performance was special. In this state, she was still very high functioning, with a great  humour and creativeness. Many friends and acquaintances remember fondly this aspect of Raven’s life and also remember her generosity

Many times Raven became homeless because of delusions of animal infestations in her apartments. Her life became more and more chaotic. She moved from town to town and seemed to continuously seek a residence where she could live peacefully. After periods of productive and peaceful  living of various lengths of time a delusion would drive her out again to search for her peaceful place.She wanted desperately to contribute to society. During this time she suffered phobias and fixed phobias plus long and short term delusions, some of which were of a horribly fearsome nature.

In MexicoFor a few years Raven lived with a good friend in New Westminster. They enjoyed life together and their time was happily punctuated by lots of excursions into nature. They loved hikes to lakes and trails in provincial and national parks. Her friend worked hard with Raven to help her keep straight. They weathered the storms with resolve and perseverance and continued to enjoy life together.  Finally they parted  ways and Raven made several moves ending up in Nelson.

In Penticton we loved  dining at lakeside hotels watching the boats. On one of my visits she surprised me with a lake cruise on a little paddle wheeler.. It was my birthday. On a another trip to she took me to the Penticton Library and we watched a group of Buddhist monks  doing an elaborate sand painting that they release to the universe when it is finnished. I think it is called a Mandela. Raven had a deep discussion with the monks that night and by listening to the conversation I learned a lot.

In Nelson Raven found a beautiful place with spectacular mountain scenery and she loved it there. She showed me around the area and the city with such pride you would think she was the President of the Chamber of Commerce.

Her greatest joy there was a store where she worked at as often as she was able.The store was a place she was proud of and counted the people at the store as very special friends.When I saw the store, the store windows featured display art by Raven. She loved Nelson and the people she worked with in Nelson loved her.  However,  I suspect that, during this time in Nelson,  she was using  marijuana.. Over the years I noticed that substance abuse tended to spike delusional activity for Raven and the delusions she suffered in Nelson were horrible.

Raven asked her social worker to enroll her in a substance abuse program.  However, it is my belief that by this time, the worker believed she was capable, and faking mental illness to milk the system for services. The worker refused to enroll her in that program and became very hard for Raven to contact. Antagonism would be the key word to describe the relationship between the two of them. Raven”s request to have her file transfered to another social worker was ignored.

After considerable chaos Raven was sent to Kamloops for assessment and diagnosis,  in which, the doctor concurred with the opinion of the social worker.

Raven was diagnosed as capable, with personality disorder and to be a malingerer. I believe the care denied because of this questionable diagnosis,  led to her suicide.

This diagnosis flies in the face of 25 years of treatment by many psychologists, psychiatrists,psychiatric wards, not to mention the care initiated by the psychiatrist at Daly Pavilion, which occurred immediately after Raven’s return from the diagnostic center in Kamloops.

Raven was a high functioning, very capable and intelligent person when she was not in crisis. She had many friends and acquaintances who loved her joyful manner, kindness and generosity. She was wonderful to be around when not suffering a crisis.

Before, during and after her assessment and diagnosis at Kamloops, she was in crisis.

I believe her high functioning abilities were so exceptional that the social worker responsible for Raven’s care developed the idea that Raven was not mentally ill. High function and mental illness are not mutually exclusive..

I believe,that this assessment left Raven short of care, services, and much needed attention. I also believe it led to Raven being left unattended  on the lawn of the hospital in Nelson for an unbelievable  period of seven days and nights.

She had phobias, and one caused a fear of hospitals, doctors, nurses and medication. It was fixed. When good times came, and crisis abated, she continuously stopped taking her medication. Crisis would invariably follow. Crisis resulted in hospitalization, where she was “normalized and released”.

I believe that not taking their medications is an inherent part of the mental illness they suffer from, and that it is being used as a cop out for care givers to give up on the care of the ill. It would be better to develop a protocol that aided” pill taking “. If we can accomplish that, we can reduce the number of people in jail, homelessness and suicides.

The cycle of normalize and release as soon as possible became the “revolving door” so well known to the mentally ill and their families—crisis, normalize, release…crisis, normalize, release…crisis, normalize, release…

And so it goes, on and on, for so many.

The interludes of wonderfully happy times Raven and I shared during her 25 year battle were special, and, I’m thankful for them all. We always kept in touch. I installed VONAGE, so, regardless of her location she could call me free of charge.We talked daily, and sometimes,when the heat was on, we would talk up to five times a day. Occasionally, when Raven was deep in crisis, contact would be lost for up to a week, and, a time or two, we were apart for a couple of weeks. Those absences were hard for me to handle. These times of high crisis for Raven were always followed by a loving get together.

These calls between Raven and I, were everything,– sad,- joyous,- sweet,- rough,- angry, -frustrating,-loving,-short -and long; and, I would dearly love to have one today. Not having them has left a big hole in my life. I miss Raven, big time.

Prior to her time at Kamloops Assessment Center Raven was plagued by a fierce delusion. A man with chains was pursuing her night and day to do her great harm.This delusion was with her to the end. I tried to share that information with the doctor at the diagnostic centre but the center would not speak to me despite four, or five, calls while Raven was in their care.

After Raven’s ordeal, Iwas told that someone inInterior Health, had put out an order to health care and socilal social workers carring for my daughter. The order was that no one reply to my phone calls or e-mails. The result was that Raven sufferred on the lawn of the hospital in Nelson and I didn’t know about it. I believe actions against families of the ill, like that, aught to be against the law.

The day after the doctor gave his diagnosis at the Assesment Center in Kamloops, and Raven had been sent back to Nelson, I called and was told by the doctor’s assistant that Raven was no longer in their juristiction and they would not speak to me.

Are there other families out there who are being left out in the dark by heath and social services?

If you are a family that has experienced being left in the dark by health care services, The Raven’s Nest is a place you can tell your story in hopes that it will prevent others from such poor treatment.

If you are part of one of these families,join in discussions here in The Raven’s Nest. Share your story and know that it is being heard and will aid others in avoiding such treatment. We don’t need to be alone with our problems. We can share.

Is it any wonder family members caring for their loved ones feel left out, helpless, and alone in their efforts to aid their loved ones sufferring mental illness?

In The Raven’s Nest, aloneness does not exist. It is a place for all concerned to get together for the betterment of life for the mentally ill. Join in.

After she returned from the assessment center in Kamloops; contrary to the promise that; “she would be met by a team approach to finding her housing, and a team approach to re:connecting her to the community”;Raven was left alone, virtually abandoned  in a hotel room.

While at this hotel her fear of the apparition, her delusion, was immense and I believe it drove her into a non-responsive state. ( a mental retreat to a safe place, within herself).

During this chaotic time, Raven ran afoul of the police and found herself in jail. Her social worker was convinced that because Raven ate food put out for her in the jail, she was faking non:responsiveness; that it was all an act.

Several weeks later,after the Nelson police let me know where Raven was and what had happened to her, I was with Raven in the Daly Pavilion, at Trail. I believe I was the first person to actually be with Raven as she took sustenance left for her. Had the social worker actually witnessed Ravens meal taking I believe the worker’s opinion about Raven faking non:responsiveness would have collapsed.

When Raven ate, which might have been once in four days, her  eyes popped open and were huge, with terror, and they darted about in all directions. She gorged ravenously, and rapidly, all the while with eyes fearfully darting about as if searching for her apparition, the man with chains. She downed a large glass of milk in one speedy swallow.This action by my daughter was so frightening to me that I tried to hold her and calm her, but, all through this terrible feeding time she remained non:responsive.I could not reach her, and, suddenly she collapsed back to her safe place,  exhibiting what appeared to be a catatonic state.

Raven,  I know,  simply could not fake a feeding like that.

Because social services would not give Raven any attention during her time at the hotel in Nelson;  and even though I had warned one of the social workers that Raven seemed more suicidal than I had ever seen her;  I asked the hotel owners to check occasionally on Raven. The hotel owners in Nelson found Raven non:responsive in her room and called an ambulance to send Raven to the hospital. The hospital began treating Raven and informed her social worker that they had her in care.

The social worker went to the hospital and stopped the care, informing all that she was a faker.  The worker also got into an altercation with my daughter. The care worker called security and  had my daughter thrown out of hospital in a hospital gown.

Somehow Raven found her way, to a bus stop shelter, in downtown Nelson, and spent two days and nights there while still in a non:responsive state.

The Nelson Police took  Raven back to the hospital for they realized Raven ‘s situation was a medical problem and not a police matter.

The hospital wouldn’t admit her and there continued her ordeal for another seven days and nights on the lawn,neglected.


All during Raven’s ordeal a gag order was in place so that doctors, nurses, social workers could not, and did not, reply to my E-Mails or phone calls .The police finally told us what had transpired and that Raven was in care at the Daly Pavilion in Trail. It’s hard to believe that a health region would do such a thing, and, at the sane time,  leave the worried family out of the picture  and in the dark .

Despite several sympathetic front page articles in Nelson’s community newspaper, the EXPRESS, describing what was transpiring on the lawn of the hospital, Interior Health continued to leave my daughter languishing on the lawn.  There was a huge public outcry. Such hard nosed determination not to care for my daughter is unbelievable. I believe that Interior Health would have attended to a bag of garbage left on their lawn in a much more responsive and prudent manner.

The one bright light during this time was the social worker at the Daly Pavilion in Trail.This worker was trusted by Raven and myself, but, alas, during this time promises he made to me were undercut by Interior Health, and social services, so, his promise that Raven would be met by a team approach to finding a home and a team approach to reconnecting her to society did not occur, no such thing happened. She was virtually abandoned.

Had the care proposed met Raven on her retun form the diagnostic centre in Kamloops occurred, who knows where Raven might be today?

After some time, when the Nelson Police informed me as to what had happened and where my daughter was, I flew immediately, and stayed with Raven for almost a month. I was with her three times a day in the Daly Pavilion in Trail. Much of that time Raven was non:responsive, What a thrill  it was when finally she opened her eyes and spoke to me.

It has taken me almost a year to be able to share my daughters ordeal on the lawn of the hospital in Nelson. The gravity of the treatment afforded my daughter simply overwhelmed me, and I seemed to be stuck, in disbelief.

Raven lay, non:responsive,burning in the hot summer sun,chilled by the mountain air at night, wearing only a hospital gown for seven days and seven nights. Because she lay in her own excrement and urine she was suffering urinary tract infection and first degree burns to her skin, not to mention what must have been dehydration.

The doctors, administrators,and nurses that passed by my daughter each day, on their way to work, or, their way home, must have seen a lady in deep distress. Doing so; passing by, for seven days and seven nights, they must have compromised their ethics,  not to mention their professional oaths and codes of ethics. They did this, and at the same time, would not answer my calls or e-mails which left me unaware of what was transpiring,thereby, I believe, they conciously prevented my flying to my daughtor’s aid.

All of us are unique in the universe, and there will never be another special person just like you, or like my daughter Raven.We need to give love, care and respect to everyone – even to a Raven. No matter how lofty, or important we are, a good way to go is to be loving, caring and respectful to everyone.

I believe it is imperative that those responsible for Raven’s ordeal on the lawn answer to an inquiry. They need to explain the protocol that allowed such treatment. I believe it is vitally important to prevent such dreadful care for future patients. An effective inquiry could shed light that prompts positive changes in protocols that would greatly affect the lives of the mentally ill, for the better. I feel that the treatment that my daughter suffered must never happen to anyone else!

Not in Canada. Not in British Columbia. Not in the world.

Following this article, there will be a place that you can contribute to the care of the ill, by sending a request for an inquiry into Raven’s treatment, a petition. Your participation can help authorities to initiate an investigation into the tragedy and prevent future occurrences like this from ever happening again. Please join us on the, “Request an Inquiry Petition”, after reading this article, and we will forward the petition to the authorities. It is important. It might even be important to you, at some time in the future. I hope that each time we send the petition to the authorities it holds many, many more supporters.

I was told by the  Program Administrator  – Mental Heath, Addictions & Aboriginal Health, for Interior Health, that, on the seventh day of her ordeal on the lawn of the hospital in Nelson, when he went to take Raven into care, he was told by a doctor ; “Do not touch her. She is just playing a game. If you touch her , she wins, and we loose.”

It seems to me, that the neglect, followed by a statement like that, from a respected health care professional, indicates that the age old stigma against the mentally ill exists today, even in the ivory towers of health care institutions. We, at least, need to inquire of  them to explain the protocols they were following. We need to understan how so many health care inividuals could simply neglect my daughter, and walk by, as she lay just outside the doors of a health care institution.

Because of what, I believe, was gross negligent care, my daughter completely lost her huge and wonderful spirit and lost her life, and, despite the valiant efforts of all who cared for Raven in the Daly Pavilion at Trial, and,  they really did; they did their best to recover Raven from her terrible ordeal, sadly, we were too late.

Raven responded to the excellent care at the Daly Pavilion, in Trail, and her psychiatrist felt she was ready to make it on her own, but, he offered that he, and the Pavilion would be there for her, anytime, night and day.

The Daly Pavilion released Raven to a little downtown apartment in Trail, with the offer that she could call, or come to the Pavilion anytime, even if it was just to have a meal, or visit the nurses. She could come to use the library. She could talk to the social worker, or her psychiatrist anytime. Raven lived there, in her little appartment, for just a few days.

Raven found her peace the only way she believed was left open to her, and she leapt from the bridge in Trail to end it all.

The people at Daly Pavilion offerred wonderful extended care to Raven . Unfortunately it came too late.  She died just a few days after leaving the ward.

I’ll bet that every time the doctors, nurses, and Raven’s social worker, pass the room in which I visited my daughter on their ward they think; “There’s Ravens room”. I’ll bet they do. They do because they tried so hard. They all, at Daly Pavilion, invested their best efforts in that room to recover Raven.

At the Pavilion they have a piece of Raven’s art , that shows a beautiful nature study of mountains, trees, and sky. It depicts nature at its  beautiful best, but, it seems subdued by a greyness, a dullness, that, perhaps, is a metaphor created by Raven to symbolize her beautiful life and its trials. That piece of Raven’s art is on the masthead of this cite,  “The Raven’s Nest.”

I remember our last conversation. the night before her suicide. She asked me if she was a bad person. My reply was that, no, she was a kind, generous person who cared deeply about everyone. I told her her great good humor often lit up the lives of all of us. I told her she was loved by lots of people.

“I’m a bad person faking mental illness, it is what I’ve been told.” she said.

I told Raven that that was just not true.I told her that she was a bright, caring and wonderful person, and, that with the care she was now getting, at last, through the Daly Pavilion, she had a super chance to develop a good life in Trail. I told her that the daly Pavilion had offered to give her careful attention and care for as long as she needed it. You are welcome there anytime, I told her.

Her reply to me was a very,very soft and smooth; “Dad, I love you.”

We said goodnight, and, the next day she was gone.

I hope we can make Raven’s loss turn out not to be in vain, and that we are able to use its  force to  give us impetus to  make positive changes needed in care for the lives of the mentally ill. There exist laws that need change. I hope we can develope the will to get the job done.

Since my daughter’s death, and it is now more than a year, no medical personnel at Interior Health have spoken to me, nor have they spoken to Raven’s brother and sister.It seems to me that families of the mentally ill are intentionally left out, and feel helpless and hopeless in their desire to be part of the solution. I suspect they are left out for convenience sake.

Families are important, and need to be included.  I suspect, they can be the solution,in some cases. I think they are important because I used to be part of one. Raven;s brother and sister used to be a part of one. Raven’s daughter was part of one. If you are part of one now, at least here, in The Raven’s Nest, you are important, and will not be ignored.

Professionals, the families, and the mentally ill by working together can effect the positive changes so desperately needed in protocols, and Laws. I don’t believe that one of these groups can be successful while ignoring the others. All organizations involved in the care of the mentally ill must expand their turf to include all the others. It truly does takes a village.

Ravens family and I do not want to press charges for criminal negligence; nor do we wish to sue in civil court. We only wish that those responsible for what, we believe, was a horrible travesty, answer for it. They should have to explain the protocol for care that allowed them to treat my daughter so badly.We feel it is important that those responsible answer for their actions so that nothing like this will ever happen again in Canada.all be it anywhere in the world. To that end, please add your name to our petition requesting inquiries. A proper inquiry will save others from the treatment Raven suffered. 

If you can, join us in requesting that an inquiry take place to find the, how, and why of it, it could make a huge difference. Add your name in support of the petition that follows.

Together, I’m sure we can!

“Together“, is the keyword.


Don Leach , Raven’s father

After reading “Raven’s Story” we hope that you will add your name to our petition to investigate the terrible event that happened to Raven on the lawn of the hospital in Nelson.

If you are comfortable with it, could you share the story and the petition with your friends. We can make a difference!

please click on the “link” below.

To sign our petition, follow this link

20 Responses

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  1. Shirley says

    This is a serious attempt to bring attention to shortfalls that exist in our programs of care for mentally ill. it is an attempt to allow us to concentrate our best ideas. I’ll be here in support.

    • Don Leach says

      Thank you, Shirley. If you hear of a problem that was solved be sure to share it here in The Raven’s Nest.

  2. Tanya Christie (nee Howell) says

    Dear Mr. Leach,
    Thank you for sharing this painfully heart-breaking story. I have been searching for Linda for years and am devastated to learn what has happened. Linda was my best friend growing up and I never knew the ordeal she was living with. She was always full of life, love and laughter. The earth has lost a beautiful angel.
    All my love -Tanya

    • Don Leach says

      So great to hear from you, Tanya.
      I remember fondly you, Raven and I sharring fun times together. The Raven’s Nest is a sharring place for all of us, family, the ill, care givers and law makers.and the sharring will help us all. I hope it becomes an accesable and communicative place to make the lives of the mentally ill more comfortable and more successful.

  3. beverly says

    I know that in this great country we have there are too many cracks to fall into. Appeal boards are designed to defeat people, and common sense is missing. I admirer you! Most family members and friends give up. It is a travesty that non visible health condition is always considered the patients fault. My wishes are that many others will report abuse….I have tried. Thank you for sharing your broken heart. Hugs to you..

    • Don Leach says

      Thanks for your support! Make The Raven’s Nest a place that you can be heard and a place you feel your words count! Stay with us and intoduce us to friends and aquaintances. It really does take a community Hopefully we can open up the community to include the ill and their families.
      Being together, here, can change things for the better! Perhaps your comment already has!

  4. Sharon Leach says

    Don, This is a heart wrenching story and I still can’t believe it could have happened. No one should ever suffer like that or be abandoned by our health system. Your effort for an inquiry is important to help improve the lives of the mentally ill and to support the families that deal with mentally ill loved ones.
    As Raven’s first cousin I used to love to babysit her when she was in Regina. She was full of life and loved to laugh and play, we had a lot of fun together.
    She was very fortunate to have such a loving father that never gave up caring for her.
    love sharon

  5. Don says

    Thank you, Sharon;
    Raven retained the atributes you mention for her whole life and always shared laughter with everyone she met. When she was in crisis it was another story, but, all who knew her will remember her great humor.
    LOVE: Uncle Don

  6. Gord says

    Don your tragic story touched my soul. It reassured my feelings that we need to treat any and
    everyone with respect and kindness. I have lived through unfortunate situations that have shown
    me both sides of life, which I feel gives me the experiance to let you know , that you are a real person. They say there are two types, givers and takers, well u took your loss with great
    stature and gave a lesson in life skills. I for one respect the way you have conducted yourself
    and think you could teach a lot of people some very valuable lessons. I feel for your loss, stay strong
    stay true, I wish you health and happiness.

    • Don Leach says

      When we suffer travesties alone and in secret we miss an opportunity to learn and move forward. It’s my hope that with support like yours Raven’s loss will be turned into gain for others. Thank you for your kind remarks and encouragement. It means a lot! You are amoung the first to find The Raven’s Nest. It is in revision and editing to make it more relavent to encouraging an inquiry into what you so aptly called a travesty. Stay with us!
      Don (Raven’s father0

  7. Suzanne says

    Dear Mr. Leach,

    What a heartbreaking and powerful story. Raven was a couple years older than myself and went to school with many mutual friends. It is awful that she had to experience so much ignorance in her struggles for essentially a “normal” life. I’ve suffered from depression and anxiety, and I know first hand how people can make poor judgements about mental illness.

    My heart goes out to you and your family. Thank you for sharing Raven’s story!

  8. Robert and Liz says

    We’ll do our best!
    We’ll get it done!
    Memories, strength, love and patience will see us through!
    Just hold on and know you loved her and she loved you and you are doing the right thing.

    R y L

  9. chris ellis says

    Hello Mr. Leach!

    I knew “RaVEN” quite well.

    I delivered one of the eulogies at her funeral in mid-November of 2008.

    Have you ever needed tratment for aleged mental illness ?

    I have been trying to get in touch with you.

  10. Shaaron Chambers says

    Dear Don:

    I have never been totally aware of the whole story about your dear Raven and I am so angry that such a thing as the total lack of care for her can happen in this day and age. What a horrible thing for her to have gone through and that you were never allowed to help in her care. Seems to me there are many problems in the health system up there especially since this spaned over the course of so many years.

    I will surely send this to all my friends with a brief explanation and ask them to sign your petition. Also my family up in Canada.

    Our love and prayers go out to you.
    Shaaron & Craig

  11. Lindsey Stene says

    Dear Don and family –
    Thank you for sharing Raven’s story with us all. I remember Linda from Red sister, Laurel was her age and I’m a year younger than Trent. In fact, our family skied with you guys!
    Raven’s mistreatment by our healthcare system is so tragic and I can’t imagine the frustration you must feel. You are a wonderful advocate for your daughter and all others who suffer from a mental illness.
    Sincerely, Lindsey Stene

    ‎”never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. for, indeed, that’s all who ever have.” Margaret Mead.

  12. Derek Folk says

    Dear Don and family,

    Thank you for sharing Raven’s story. I remember Raven from school, we were not close, but she was a memorable person and had some of the same troubles in High School. She was fortunate to have the support of a father and family that cares as much as you. My thoughts are with you.
    I can relate to some of the issues and hurdles she faced then and through-out her life. There is a stigma attached to mental health and I have found, an unwillingness to aid and/or attempt to help individuals due to: a lack of knowledge, difficulty in treatment, expense, or general acceptance of various conditions that exist. This attitude given by the community in charge of care, received by the community in dire need of care, or the general society today, seems to permeate everything involved in the mental health scenario of today.
    I am not sure what needs to be done about this problem other than better education of health professionals both academically and ethically to accept or at least forward the case to designated professionals that are in a better position to help, as it is a condition that can be as serious as an accident with the same kind of time sensitivity. The markers are there they just need to be taken into account, understood and accepted.
    I speak out in support of Raven, You, Your Family and all others genuinely touched by the situation today. I am truly sorry for the loss of Raven, but hopefully this page and other hopeful activities towards this cause will make a difference to those that need the changes and support.

    Respectfully yours
    Derek Folk

  13. Ernest Scribbler says

    I just heard you on the radio and you have my deepest sympathy. Nobody should have to endure this kind of ordeal – not you, not your daughter, nobody. But I’m disturbed by your comment that you were discouraged from seeking any kind of legal redress for what appears to have been a spectacular case of institutional negligence and malpractice on the part of many practitioners. Yes, insurers have lawyers, but there are many lawyers who take on medical malpractice cases. They are expert in their field and are used to meeting lawyers for institutions and insurance companies head-on. I’m not in a position to say whether any limitation periods have expired that would make it impossible for you to pursue redress at this time, but you should seek out a top-notch med-mal practitioner and discuss the question. You’re likelier to find such lawyers in large cities like Vancouver than in Nelson, BC. Finally, there is the question of the governing bodies of the medical and nursing professions: were complaints lodged with them respecting the treatment given your daughter? Your story is heartbreaking but is it finished? Why have those responsible not been held accountable? Doctors have lost their licenses for less.

  14. Carole says

    Don & Family: I would be pursuing this legally. This is absolutely not acceptable … another example of say one thing and do another in our society. Where is the Canadian Mental Health Association? I have heard so many stories from others about seeing a mental health worker and not being heard, being discounted, or placed on meds instead of being listened to. To think that a human being would be left on a lawn for seven days – it boggles the mind. The cruelty of this is mind numbing. Do they not realize that even if she way ‘looking for attention’ or ‘faking it’ – does that not tell them that there was something wrong? Stupidity is a growth industry and it saddens my heart to think we have treated someone in this manner. I am so sorry for your loss and the hell that you and your dear daughter went through.

  15. Bet says

    Thank you for calling into CBC radio this morning. I had heard of a young woman that had been mistreated by health care workers. I had NO idea it was this kind of horrendous mis-treatment!! Thankyou again and I do believe I will learn how to better interact with my friend when she is in one of her phases.

  16. Judy says

    I, too, found this website after hearing you on CBC Radio, Don. I am appalled at the barbaric treatment your daughter received and I also encourage you to seek proper legal advice. That may even be the way to effect an inquiry into the matter.
    May you find the peace you seek.

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