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Peer Support Program Marks Mental Health, Addictions Strategy Anniversary

Health and Wellness
May 31, 2013

The province is marking the anniversary of its mental health and addictions strategy, by launching a new Peer Support Program to help people living with mental illness move from hospital back into their community.

Peer support offers hope, increases resiliency and helps people set their own recovery. The program will be led by Healthy Minds Co-operative, which will hire, train and certify peer support specialists experienced with mental illness.

Karen Gilmore, director of the co-operative, said in its first year, Together We Can, Nova Scotia’s first mental health and addictions strategy, is making a huge difference.

“Because of the strategy, people everywhere in our province on their recovery journey, will be able to benefit from peer support,” she said.

The province is investing $1 million in the peer support program. The funding was announced along with an update on Together We Can, and an outline of what will be done next.

“Until the province took this work on, not enough was being done to meet the needs of Nova Scotians living with mental health and addictions,” said David Wilson, Minister of Health and Wellness. “We have brought about real change by listening to people and acting on many of the strategy’s commitments. We know there is more work to do, but we are in this for the long-haul.”

Joyce McDonald, member of the Mental Health and Addictions Strategy Advisory Committee, said the province is taking a proactive approach.

“It is ensuring programs for children are in place that will provide a better foundation for our future generations,” said Ms. McDonald. “This yearly report reflects that the province has listened to Nova Scotians and is committed to improving services for people living with mental illness.”

The mental health and addictions strategy is a five-year plan with 33 action items. To-date the province has:
— reduced mental health wait times across the province
— introduced mental health clinicians in the SchoolsPlus family of schools across the province
— established a new community grants program
— expanded the Strongest Families program to the entire province
— expanded the Mental Health Crisis Line to the entire province
— extended funding for the Mi’kmaq Crisis Line for First Nations
— increased the number of Gay/Straight Alliances in schools
— contributed to the Nova Scotia Housing Strategy
— supported municipalities to reduce the harm caused by alcohol
— started work on all other first-year commitments

“Understanding that there is more work to be done, people in the province living with mental illness are now being better served, and better supported because of the progress made through Together We Can,” said Geoff Alcock, Truro member of the Consumer, Family, Community Working Group.

The first-year report can be found at http://novascotia.ca/dhw/.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

The province is marking the one-year anniversary of its mental health and addictions strategy Together We

Can by launching a new Peer Support Program to help people living with mental illness.

The program, led by Healthy Minds Cooperative, will help people move from hospital back to their

communities.

The province announced 1-million-dollars in funding for the peer support program during an update on

how Together We Can, Nova Scotia’s first mental health and addictions strategy, is progressing.

Health and Wellness Minister David Wilson says not enough work was being done to meet the needs of Nova

Scotians living with mental health and addictions.

The first-year report of the mental health and addictions strategy can be found at nova scotia dot c-a slash d-h-w .

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Media Contact: Tony Kiritsis
902-424-0585
E-mail: [email protected]

NT4