What would you do if it were you or your child?
Pine River Institute (PRI) opened its doors in June 2006 after nearly ten years of research, consultation, and planning. It was able to open and operate for the first two years because of private donations received through The Way Back Campaign, which successfully raised $4.5 million in 18 months under the leadership of Don Wright.
Pine River began as a community initiative in response to the lack of appropriate treatment available in Canada for youth struggling with mental health issues and specifically substance abuse. In the spectrum of services available in Canada– from private counseling, to after school programs, to youth detention – there was nothing for youth who need long-term, residential, comprehensive treatment. Many Canadian families were seeking this kind of help in the U.S. after failed attempts for help locally, and some were able to access government funding for out-of-country healthcare. Before Pine River was able to welcome families, founder Karen Minden was receiving calls constantly from desperate parents who heard there was help across the border and that she might know how to access it.
The initial plan of the pre-Pine River team was to help government or an already established health organization respond to this desperate need. With tremendous support from the Rotary Club of Toronto, and working with consultants and volunteering their own time, the team completed a report on the needs and services across the country, a clinical program design, and detailed operational plans. While those approached to carry the torch acknowledged the need, it became apparent that for there to be a Pine River, this volunteer team would have to garner private support and create the centre themselves.
When Pine River opened in June 2006, it had one student and a full complement of staff. Even as a non-profit organization, the cost of treatment for families was $400/day, and the length of treatment was expected to be several months, maybe even a year. Few families were able to afford this expense, and of those families, even fewer were willing to pay when they could receive government support to access the same services south of the border. Pine River continued to fundraise, as it still does, to provide bursaries. Word spread that Pine River existed, PRI began to receive referrals and in August 2007, the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care began funding 23 beds as a pilot project. By 2008, this funding became permanent, Pine River had enrolled over 60 students, and inquiries and referrals steadily increased.
Today we have a comprehensive program, clinical expertise, and a track record of success. It is with the support of the community that Pine River has been able to help hundreds of families, and establish itself as a centre of excellence.
Click here to read 'Faith in the Goodness of People,' Karen Minden's interview in Healthcare Quarterly
The Board of Directors of Pine River Institute acknowledges Donald A. Wright for his outstanding leadership of The Way Back Campaign, and the generosity of the Founding Donors whose early investments have made Pine River Institute a reality.
Special recognition is due to the Rotary Foundation of Toronto for its steadfast belief in this project.
PRIVACY STATEMENT: Pine River Institute values its relationship with its students (including potential students), their parents, and alumni, and is committed to the protection of their personal information. Accordingly, we adhere to the privacy principles that have been developed in accordance with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (Canada) (the “Act”).