New Money for Mental Health

Department of Health (To Jan. 11)

April 14, 2005 12:04 PM

Nova Scotians with mental health problems will see new and
enhanced mental health services as a result of an additional $4
million funding in over the next two health budgets, says Health
Minister Angus MacIsaac. The minister made the announcement at
the IWK Health Centre today, April 14, with representatives from
the mental health community.

"This government is making good on its promise to expand mental
health services that will improve access to high quality care
across the province," said Mr. MacIsaac. "Historically, mental
health has been underfunded, yet we are slowly making progress to
change this. With program standards in place, we can easily
identify the areas of greatest need, which means any new dollars
coming forward can make the most difference to Nova Scotians."

The new funding will be used by district health authorities and
the IWK Health Centre to increase access to mental health
services in three priority areas: services for children and
youth; crisis/emergency services; and community-based supports
for those with chronic and persistent mental illness. Improving
mental health services within communities helps people get the
care they need, as close to home as possible, and helps prevent,
reduce, or defer unnecessary trips to the emergency room.

Over the coming weeks and months, the Department of Health will
work with district health authorities and the IWK Health Centre
to identify the programs and services that will receive this new
funding.

"It is good news indeed that funding is being directed where it
is most needed -- toward programs that support mental health
intervention and care for children and youth," said Anne McGuire,
president and CEO, IWK Health Centre. "This attention to mental
health care for the young assures us that access will continue to
improve, and standards will be met. This will mean more young
Nova Scotians can access the mental health care they need, when
they need it."

"New dollars for community mental health services and emergency
services is in line with where we are focusing services in our
district," said Dr. Scott Theriault, clinical director, Capital
Health mental health program. "We are completing strategic
planning for mental health, and additional investment will
certainly help enhance services for the people in our district
and across the province."

"I am impressed that the minister and his department are focusing
on mental illness and wellness across the province," said
Charlene Thomas, senior director, mental health program for
Antigonish Guysborough Strait and Pictou County health
authorities. "Our communities share this commitment and we are
excited about new funding that will help us better serve patients
and families who face mental health problems."

In 2003, Nova Scotia became the first province in Canada to
establish a strategic direction and core program standards for
mental health. These were developed with mental health
professionals, academics, advocacy groups, and mental health
consumers. At the time, it was estimated that it would take five
to 10 years and an additional investment of $20 million to
implement the mental health standards.

As a first step, government added $2 million to the 2003-04
budget. The addition of today's announcement means that Nova
Scotia will invest more than $6 million in improved mental health
services over four years.


FOR BROADCAST USE:

     Nova Scotians with mental illness will receive enhanced

services over the next two years.

     Health Minister Angus MacIsaac said today (April 14th)

that four million dollars is being added to the next two

health budgets, which will result in new and enhanced mental

health programs around the province.

     District health authorities and the I-W-K Health Centre will

use this money in one of the province's three priority areas for

mental health: children and youth, crisis-emergency services;

and community-based supports for people with chronic and

persistent mental illness.

     Mr. MacIsaac says mental health has been underfunded and

government is making good on its promise to improve this.

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Contact: Michelle Lucas
         Department of Health
         902-424-3731
         E-mail: lucasmx@gov.ns.ca