Provincial Auxiliary Mental Hospital, Raymond
|Provincial Auxiliary Mental Hospital, Raymond|
|Building Style||Single Building|
In 1920 a Provincial Agricultural College was built in Raymond and functioned as such until 1931. In the late 1930s the province came up with a plan for their empty building. In the late 1930s the building was converted into the Provincial Auxiliary Mental Hospital (commonly known as the Raymond Mental Hospital). The building served as such from 1939 to 1965.
The building was converted into the Provincial Auxiliary Mental Hospital in 1939 to relieve “the overcrowding in the female chronic wards of the Provincial Mental Hospital. This institution was to provide care for a quiet type of chronic patient.” (1939 Provincial Report) In February 1939, 106 patients were brought to the hospital – 96 from Ponoka (the Hospital for the Insane, later renamed Provincial Mental Hospital, opened in Ponoka in 1911) and 10 from the Claresholm Provincial Auxiliary Mental Hospital. There were 10 other transfers that year. Throughout that year 9 patients left the facility (6 were discharged, 2 sent back to Ponoka because they were ill and one died from coronary thrombosis).
An Occupational Therapy program was started at the hospital that year and a library was gradually being established. The provincial report for 1939 noted that residents of the hospital attended “matinees at the local theatre …twice a month. These have been greatly enjoyed by the patients. A Sports Day and several wiener roasts and picnics were also enjoyed by both patients and staff during the course of the year.”
The 1939 provincial report concluded: “During the course of the past year this hospital was established and operated capably and efficiently. There were some difficulties, early, due to lack of equipment. The staff have been most efficient. It is to be hoped that a feeling of sympathetic understanding and goodwill will develop between the hospital and residents of the town and surrounding district.”
The 1956 Department of Public Health Provincial Report noted that as of 1 January 1956 134 patients resided in the Raymond facility. By this point Occupational Therapy had grown: “Patients are occupied in the laundry, sewing room, kitchen, nurses’ home and on the wards. A few patients help to pick vegetables in the garden, and one patient has the responsibility of gathering the eggs. There is a full-time attendance by other patients in the occupational parlor, where all kinds of needle-work, knitting, painting, rag rug-making, etc. is done. Tea is served there each afternoon, and there is a radio and canary for added interest.”
In the 1960s the treatment of persons with mental illness started to change. Deinstitutionalization started and psychiatric wards started in several general hospitals. We’ll leave our story of how mental health was treated here in the 1960s. From 1965 to 1974 the building changed its name and was known as the Alberta Hospital, Raymond. It was called the Raymond Home from 1974 to 1988 and in 1988 was renamed the Raymond Care Centre. Under these other names the building served a variety of medical needs including long-term care.