Access to mental health services is improving across Nova Scotia with an additional $8.6 million in government funding this year leading to almost 70 more mental health-care providers.
More than half of all new investments are targeting youth mental health.
Health and Wellness Minister Randy Delorey made the announcement today, 0ct. 10, World Mental Health Day, at Auburn Drive High School in Cole Harbour.
“Youth mental health is everyone’s responsibility, and making progress will require work from many partners,” said Mr. Delorey. “These investments will make it easier for young people and their families to get the services they need – at school, in the community, even in the comfort of their own homes.”
Among the new investments in 2017-18 specific to children and youth include:
— $1.8 million to expand SchoolsPlus into 68 more schools across Nova Scotia
— $1.4 million to hire more school psychologists and speech language pathologists
— $700,000 to increase access to services delivered by the IWK Health Centre in rural and underserved areas
— $463,000 to expand CaperBase, a youth outreach program in Cape Breton
— $192,000 to hire two guidance counsellors and a social worker in the Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Board
— $373,000 to hire new mental health clinicians to support children and youth in targeted communities
— $300,000 to KidsHelpPhone to continue services online and by phone.
“Cultivating resilience in our youth and helping them navigate is a big part of what I do in connecting students with supports and services inside the school and in the community,” said Sharyn Chapman, youth health co-ordinator at Auburn Drive High School. “I regularly see students with family and relationship challenges.
“The more support available to them, and the more quickly we can foster those connections, the better the outcome is going to be.”
Olivia Conrad, a Grade 12 student at Auburn Drive High School and volunteer for Jack.org, a student-led mental health outreach program said, “One in five young Canadians is affected by mental illness, but not everyone who needs it will reach out for help. Making more services available means reaching more young people – and that’s a great thing.”
“Demand for our services has increased steadily over the last decade, especially our online chat service,” said Alisa Simon, vice-president of counselling and programs, Kids Help Phone. “Last year, crisis interventions took place in 19 per cent of all counselling sessions in Nova Scotia, and 55 per cent of all counselling sessions were done via Live Chat.
“This funding will allow us to continue to meet the growing demand for our counselling services to kids, teens and the young adults who need it most.”
Other additional investments in mental health which will improve access and enhance services for Nova Scotians of all ages include:
— $1.6 million to expand crisis services
— $1 million to create a provincewide central intake system so no door is the wrong door to get help
— $550,000 to increase access to community-based supports
— $198,400 for additional Sexual Assault Trauma Therapists
— $60,000 for Bloom, a program that connects individuals with their community pharmacists.