Mental Health, Addictions Advisory Strategy Committee Releases Report

Health and Wellness

April 23, 2012 2:39 PM

The province welcomes the Mental Health and Addictions Strategy Advisory Committee report released today, April 23, and will use the recommendations to develop Nova Scotia's first mental health and addictions strategy.

The report will help provide better care sooner for Nova Scotians with mental health and addictions and their families.

"One in five Canadians will experience a diagnosable mental health issue just in this year alone," said Dr. Michael Ungar, committee co-chair. "In Nova Scotia, that results in nearly 200,000 people who will need mental health care. Many Nova Scotians also suffer from or are affected by addictions."

The report, called Come Together, cites 61 recommendations to help the province build a more collaborative, effective and efficient mental health and addictions care system.

"Our recommendations are meant as a roadmap for improving mental health and addictions care for Nova Scotians," said Dr. Ungar. "The goal is to change the mental health and addictions systems, address stigma, and ensure all Nova Scotians who need it are able to get early intervention, treatment and supports for dealing with and recovering from these issues."

The report identifies four priority areas:
-- Investing in health promotion, early intervention and faster access to services
-- Fixing gaps within the systems of care
-- Creating supportive communities
-- Strengthening collaboration among care teams

"This is the culmination of close to two years of dedication and passion by the advisory committee, which is made up of volunteers with personal and professional experience in mental health and addictions," said Health and Wellness Minister Maureen MacDonald. "Their recommendations will help shape the future of mental health and addictions care in Nova Scotia."

"On behalf of the province, I want to express my sincere gratitude to them. We're using these recommendations to guide our work to make life better for Nova Scotians affected by mental illness and addictions issues, and their families."

The committee got input from 1,200 Nova Scotians through an extensive consultation, and reviewed research, best practices and lessons learned from Nova Scotia, and other provinces and countries. It carefully considered all of the information in the developing the recommendations and report.

The Mental Health and Addictions Strategy Advisory Committee is made up of 14 people with experience in mental health and addictions. The co-chairs are Dr. Ungar, an internationally recognized social worker and family therapist, and Joyce McDonald, who has a psychiatric nursing background and is the former executive director of the Colchester East Hants branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association.

To view the report, visit gov.ns.ca/dhw .


FOR BROADCAST USE:

     The province welcomes the Mental Health and Addictions

Advisory Committee report released today, April 23, and will use

the recommendations to develop Nova Scotia's first mental health

and addictions strategy.

     Committee co-chair Doctor Michael Ungar says the report,

titled Come Together, is a roadmap for improving the province's

mental health and addiction care for Nova Scotians.

     The strategy will be released later this spring.

     To view the report visit w-w-w dot g-o-v dot n-s dot c-a

slash d-h-w.
        
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Media Contact: Kristen Rector
              Department of Health and Wellness
              902-424-2727
              Cell: 902-219-3780
              E-mail: Kristen.Rector@gov.ns.ca