NDP

NDP Releases Mental Health and Addictions Strategy

May 16, 2012


More children and youth will be able to get help for mental health concerns in schools, and more Nova Scotians will get treatment for drug addictions as a result of the province’s first mental health and addictions strategy.

Health and Wellness Minister Maureen MacDonald today, May 16, released a government-wide five-year strategy with 33 actions and a $5.2 million investment this year.

“Nova Scotians living with mental illness and addictions, and their families, deserve better care sooner, as well as the supports they need to live healthier lives,” said MacDonald. “I’m very proud to release our plan, and I look forward with enthusiasm to the positive results it will have on mental health and addictions care in our province.”

Key actions include:

— putting mental health clinicians in SchoolsPlus families of schools in all school boards to identify and treat mental health problems of children and youth earlier

— funding community agency projects that help Nova Scotians of all ages living with mental illness and addictions

— expanding opioid replacement treatment to areas of the province with the greatest need

— expanding provincewide the successful Strongest Families program, which provides telephone coaching to families that have children with behavioral or anxiety difficulties

— expanding peer support to help people with mental illness transition successfully from hospital to community

— expanding the toll-free crisis line across the province to ensure that people with mental health and addiction concerns are able to talk to someone immediately

Together We Can: The Plan to Improve Mental Health and Addictions Care for Nova Scotians meets a key commitment under Better Care Sooner to improve services for people throughout Nova Scotia.

“As co-chair of the Mental Health and Addictions Strategy Advisory Committee, I am pleased to see the minister responding to the recommendations we provided her,” said Dr. Michael Ungar, internationally recognized social worker and family therapist. “The strategy puts into action many of our highest priorities, setting the province on an ambitious five-year plan to change the way mental health and addictions services are provided and communities and families supported.

“It is especially satisfying to see the government putting resources into expanding services for children and youth, early intervention, and efforts to address stigma which, when combined with better, more accessible treatment, will significantly improve mental health and addictions services in Nova Scotia.”

The recommendations of the Mental Health and Addictions Strategy Advisory Committee, which released its report, Come Together, on April 23, helped develop the five-year plan.

The committee heard from more than 1,200 Nova Scotians and reviewed research, best practices and lessons learned. The committee, appointed in fall 2010, is 14 people with personal and professional experience in mental health and addictions.

To view the plan, visit gov.ns.ca/health/mhs/mental-health-addiction-strategy.asp .