Solution Six: Address the factors affecting health and well-being

In addressing long-standing barriers to better health, our government will support partnerships and collaboration. We will strengthen community-based primary care, mental health supports, public health and health promotion, while learning from and collaborating with diverse populations.

Our progress on what we will do

  • Ongoing Status Icon

    Work Ongoing: Started and continues through 2022-26

  • Complete Status Icon

    Complete: The action is complete

  • Work Underway Status Icon

    Work Underway: The action has been initiated

  • Not Started Status Icon

    Not Started: The action has not been initiated yet

  • Partner with communities and empower Nova Scotians to improve our collective health and wellness
    Actions will includeProgress UpdateStatus
    • Establish a community wellness framework to guide long-term funding for community organizations working to improve community wellness
    • The Office of Mental Health and Addictions has engaged with community-based organizations to inform the new community wellness framework supporting the delivery of mental wellness services and supports.
    • The Office of Addictions and Mental Health has received a final report with recommendations outlining next steps in the development of a Community Wellness Framework and funding strategies for community-based organizations.
    • Planning has also been initiated by Primary Health Care to develop a community funding model to support programming and intervention for wellness and chronic diseases.
    • Support innovative community-based programs that promote independence among home care clients
    • Launching an innovative pilot program, Capable, which partners a nurse, occupational therapist, and handyperson to help older people live more independently, such as by making changes to their homes. Three teams will be trained and supported to serve about 300 clients over the next year.
    • Funding has been provided through the Age-friendly Communities Grants, Community Links funding for seniors’ micro-grants and Seniors Centre Without Walls, Red Cross community equipment loan expansion funding, and Independent Living NS development of support for self-managed care clients.
    • The Seniors Care Grant (SCG) has been expanded to include more services and provide a one-time $250 emergency heating grant and a one-time Hurricane Fiona recovery grant to eligible seniors. More than 30,000 people have received SCG to date in the 2022-2023 application period.
  • Build capacity with strategic investments in diverse communities and by partnering with community organizations to design culturally safe and appropriate health services
    Actions will includeProgress UpdateStatus
    • Make sustainable investments in organizations working to advance health in diverse communities, including 2SLGBTIQ+
    • Funding has been allocated for the development of a Sisterhood model and planning for the Brotherhood expansion is ongoing.
    • $2 million was provided to Tajikeimɨk to develop a Mi’kmaw mental health and addictions strategy.
    • Initiative mapping on the capacity of community organizations serving equity population has begun, and will guide further actions on gaps, opportunities, and investments.
    • Home and Community Care and Mental Health and Addictions (HCCMHA) approved bilateral funding to support a 1-day workshop and foundational cultural learning day with Tajikeimɨk Strategic Health Partnership Committee (health system leaders training for 16 participants).
    • Develop a Health Equity Framework to guide targeted approaches on health equity experiences for various equity-seeking populations
    • Work is underway, with an expected completion date for the framework of July 2023.
    • A Health Equity Framework working group has been constituted, comprising of staff from the Department of Health and Wellness, NS Health, IWK, the Office of Mental Health and Addictions, and the Office of Healthcare Professionals Recruitment, and Seniors and Long-term Care.
    • Map community organizations, associations, and groups to determine gaps in services and opportunities to improve outcomes through partnerships
    • Initial engagement with community organizations, associations, and groups on the mapping of community services has begun.
  • Enhance data collection to better understand the health of our communities to guide policy and investment decisions and support prevention efforts
    Actions will includeProgress UpdateStatus
    • Collect the data needed to better understand and address health inequities
    • Launched an online survey to collect feedback from communities that might have experienced systemic racism and discrimination in the healthcare system. Information from the survey will be used to develop a health equity framework to help improve the system, both for diverse groups who use it and staff.
    • Community engagement sessions have been held with over 400 Nova Scotians to assess current race-based data collection approach.
    • Multiple options have been developed for Nova Scotians to self-identify: MSI application/renewal form updates, MSI telephone line, and web-based portal for data collection.
    • The Primary Reference Working Group (PRWG), a table of community stakeholders supporting the RBDI project, is being reconstituted starting in September 2022, with a focus on data governance and accountability.
    • The Fair Care Project launched on October 25, 2022.
    • Work is now ongoing with the PRWG to develop a data governance framework structure for the data collected thru the Fair Care Project. The data governance document is to be completed by spring 2023.
  • Proactively address factors affecting health with accessible and comprehensive primary healthcare, public health, and health promotion
    Actions will includeProgress UpdateStatus
    • Work with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development on addictions programming across the province, and ensure an educational component in the curriculum for students to learn the harms associated with drugs and alcohol
    • A curriculum supplement will be developed for grades 6 – 9 and will be ready during the 2023/2024 academic year.
    • Expand public health services for children, youth, and families
    • In addition to funding available through the bilateral funding, the annual investment in Youth Health Centres (YHCs) has been increased by $900,000 to support the expansion of Youth Health Centres for the 2022/2023 academic year.
    • Funding for the Enhanced Home Visiting program, which supports families with young children, was also increased in 2022/2023. Part of this enhancement includes working with Tajikeimɨk to increase supports/services to First Nations Communities.
  • Reduce gaps in access to care with strategic investments in addictions and mental health
    Actions will includeProgress UpdateStatus
    • Develop a workforce strategy to meet the mental health and addictions needs of Nova Scotians
    • Discussions are underway with health system partners regarding needs-based planning. An engagement strategy targeting licensed professions will be implemented.
    • Engagement is underway to create a comprehensive Mental Health and Addictions Health Human Resources strategy to support a Universal Mental Health and Addictions Care Framework.
    • Work with organizations inside and outside of government to ensure management of standards of care, best practices, and models of care
    • A new Mental Health Day Hospital will open at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital in spring 2023. This is the second day hospital to open in the province.
    • The province’s first Mental Health Day Hospital has been implemented in Central Zone. This provides an additional point of care for local residents living with mental illness and has helped reduce wait times for hospital psychiatric care and increased the availability of inpatient psychiatric beds for those requiring urgent or crisis care.
    • Funding has been provided to seven youth centres across the province to support programming for at-risk youth.
    • The Office of Mental Health and Addictions is working with health partners to strengthen current service delivery models and to identify new models to improve access to mental health and addictions services and supports.
    • A new model of care to expand pre-school autism services will be implemented over the next two years, allowing for earlier intervention.
    • A new model of care for Sexual Violence Trauma Therapy is in the process of being implemented. Avalon Sexual Assault Centre has been awarded the contract to oversee the provincial model of care.
    • A new model of care for Recovery Houses is under development. The Office of Addictions and Mental Health has engaged internal and external partners to inform this work.
    • Continue support for harm reduction programs, including managed alcohol programs, needle exchanges, overdose prevention sites, and naloxone
    • Support ongoing for harm reduction initiatives.
    • Discussions are underway regarding permanent funding for the Managed Alcohol Program (MAP) in Central Zone and opening a MAP in Eastern Zone.
    • Implement and expand same-day mental wellness supports, peer support lines, recovery support centres, and the integrated youth services model
    • Wellness and withdrawal management services at Fishermen’s Memorial Hospital in Lunenburg have transitioned to a recovery support centre. This is the fourth recovery support centre to open in the province. In total, 10 centres will be opened, including in the Strait-Richmond area, Sydney, Yarmouth, Truro, North Sydney, and Halifax.
    • Recovery Support Centres have opened in Dartmouth, New Glasgow, and Middleton.
    • A provincial peer support line was launched in October 2022. Nova Scotians with mild mental health or substance use concerns can now speak directly with someone who can relate to their experience and is there to listen.
    • Same-day mental wellness, peer support line, and integrated youth services model initiatives are also underway. The Mental Wellness Services is expected to launch in 2023, and the Integrated Youth Services Model implementation has begun, with expansion expected in 2023/2024.
    • Introduce universal addictions and mental health coverage that guarantees every Nova Scotian access to mental health professionals
    • Understanding and engagement work is currently underway to inform the Universal Mental Health and Addictions Care framework, including Needs Based Planning, professional supply mapping, literature review, and legal review. Consultants have been hired to expedite the work.
    • Pilot programs are under development that will test service delivery and compensation models for access to mental health and addictions care, as part of ongoing work to develop a Universal Mental Health and Addictions Care Framework.
    • The development of both an accountability and an evaluation framework is underway.
    • Develop targeted solutions for people facing the greatest barriers to accessing addictions and mental health services
    • Currently working closely with Tajikeimɨk and Mi’kmaq communities to identify opportunities to fund service delivery opportunities by communities (e.g., Eskasoni, Millbrook, Pictou Landing).
    • Access to urgent mental health and addictions care in rural communities was expanded through the Rural Access to Urgent Care initiative, providing people the option to receive a virtual mental health and addictions urgent care assessment.
    • Pilot programs are under development that will focus on improving access for traditionally underserved communities.
  • Prioritize and collaborate across government to address the social determinants of health
    Actions will includeProgress UpdateStatus
    • Support the Department of Agriculture as it examines policies and programs to reduce the costs of healthy foods
    • Internal engagement was completed in fall 2022. Public engagement was sought through an online survey in November and December 2022. The Steering Committee will develop a report in winter 2023.
    • Support the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development as it reviews and updates curriculum related to physical activity and healthy living
    • Curriculum updates will be developed through partnership between Education and Early Childhood Development, Department of Health and Wellness, and NS Health.
    • Identify new opportunities for partnerships to address addictions and mental health
    • New opportunities have been identified, and new partnerships developed/are under development to support the delivery of mental health and addictions services.
  • Strengthen the public health system so that we are better prepared to respond to future public health emergencies, including epidemics and pandemics
    Actions will includeProgress UpdateStatus
    • Support the Department of Community Services to address child poverty
    • Public Health is the co-lead for the Child Poverty Reduction – Child and Adolescent Health Outcomes working group.
    • Invest in resources to better equip the system to respond to public health issues
    • Work is ongoing to ensure Public Health is better resourced to deliver on core functions across the province. This includes the creation and hiring of a Director of Public Health Emergency Management (PHEM), along with the implementation of a three-year investment to enhance capacity across the core functions of Public Health. PHEM hiring was completed in October 2022.
    • Continue the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines and boosters to Nova Scotians
    • Vaccines remain available to all Nova Scotians.

Solution Six Results

We said we would reduce gaps in access to care with strategic investments in addictions and mental health.

We will monitor how long Nova Scotians are waiting for community mental health and addictions counselling services by reporting on the percentage of patients who receive their first appointments and treatments within the target benchmarks, for both urgent and non-urgent cases.

Percentage of urgent addictions and mental health first treatment wait times within benchmark

Percentage of non-urgent addictions and mental health first treatment wait times within benchmark

We said we would enhance data collection to better understand the health of our diverse groups and communities.

We will monitor how different communities and groups of Nova Scotians are experiencing changes on selected other indicators above, and how well these communities are represented within the health workforce and leadership.
These indicators are still being developed and important consultations are taking place.
Solution Five Solution One