A pioneer in Canadian mental health, she helped establish the Hincks Treatment Centre for adolescents, the Gerstein Crisis Centre for psychiatric patients and initiated Mental Health Week.
Reva Appleby married Bertrand Gerstein on 5 June 1939 at Toronto's Holy Blossom Temple. The couple had two sons, Irving Russell (1941-) and Ira Michael (1947-). In the fall of 1979, she remarried to David Raitblat, a Toronto Symphony Orchestra board member at the time and previously a construction company owner.
In 1974, she was made a Member of the Order of Canada, promoted to Officer in 1979, and promoted to Companion in 1997.