Access to Hope and Healthcare, Op-ed
NOTE: The following is an op-ed from Brian Comer, Minister responsible for the Office of Addictions and Mental Health.
I’ve had the honour of serving as the province’s first Minister responsible for Addictions and Mental Health for almost a year now. I’ve had the opportunity to travel around the province and to visit with many who are working in our hospitals, in community clinics and in community organizations to support people experiencing mental health challenges – and I will continue doing so this summer.
I, too, worked on the frontline as a registered nurse. Time and again, I’m inspired by the great work that is happening in the field.
There will always be those who want to paint a dismal picture of the state of mental health and addictions care. This does nothing to help. I want those who are struggling to know they are not alone. Help is available.
We know that there are challenges in accessing care and we are committed, as a government, to making the much-needed improvements. I know from first-hand experience that there are solutions, if government is willing to be bold and put in the work – and we are.
We need to do more for those who are suffering. We need to address the stigma that so often stops people from reaching out for help. We need to create a system where all Nova Scotians can get the support and care they need, whether or not they can afford to pay. And we need to provide access to early interventions and care that reflect the diverse experiences of all Nova Scotians.
We are committed to doing more and doing better. For example, we opened the province’s first acute mental health day hospital and recovery support centres, which are allowing Nova Scotians to get the treatments they need, close to their families and communities.
The past two years have been tough on Nova Scotians’ mental health, and we must come together in response. These challenges are too big for politics. We must work together with compassion and hope, and a commitment to better care.
We need to lift each other up and ensure the right care is available to support us when we’re struggling, and to catch us when we fall.