News release

Mental Health Day Hospital to Open in Cape Breton

A new day hospital will offer intensive mental health treatment for people in Cape Breton.

The hospital, scheduled to open in spring 2023, will be located at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital in Sydney and will provide an additional point of care for people living with mental illness. People in need of intensive treatment can attend during the day and return home in the evening. This will be the second mental health day hospital pilot in the province.

“Nova Scotians deserve supports and treatments that address their care needs and that meet them where they are in their recovery,” said Brian Comer, Minister responsible for the Office of Addictions and Mental Health. “This day hospital recognizes that not everyone needs around-the-clock hospital care. Expanding the pilot here in Sydney will mean that more Cape Bretoners stay closely connected to family and community while getting the help they need.”

Being treated in community allows people to maintain daily routines and addresses the anxiety and stigma that many people face with inpatient psychiatric care.

People attending the day hospital will receive care from a team of mental health specialists, including a psychiatrist, mental health nurses and social workers who will provide individual psychiatric treatments and therapeutic group programs.

The hospital will operate seven days a week with an initial capacity of up to 10 people a day. That is expected to increase to 15 people a day.

Admissions will come through community mental health clinics and emergency departments. People discharged from inpatient psychiatric care may also be referred to the day hospital for followup care.

The first mental health day hospital, being piloted in Halifax, has helped reduce wait times for hospital psychiatric care and increased the availability of inpatient psychiatric beds for those requiring urgent or crisis care.


We are pleased to pilot a day hospital in Eastern Zone. It will expand our capacity to support Cape Bretoners experiencing mental illness and allow them greater access to the support they need on their healing journey. Dr. Faisal Rahman, Eastern Zone Chief of Psychiatry, Mental Health and Addictions Program, Nova Scotia Health

As someone who has personally experienced mental health challenges and who now supports those pursuing wellness, I know the difference this hospital will have in bridging a gap in the services we are able to provide. With the addition of a day hospital, patients can access more flexible supports that meet their unique needs and give them the best opportunity to pursue recovery and wellness. Cameron Rankin, mental health peer supporter, Sydney

Quick Facts:

  • the mental health day hospital in Halifax has provided care to more than 50 patients, resulting in a five per cent reduction in the number of inpatient days across the province
  • occupancy rates for inpatient psychiatry care in Eastern Zone are regularly above the target range of 85 per cent
  • estimated costs for the Cape Breton day hospital are $911,000 for 2022-23; once fully operational and fully staffed, the annual investment will be about $1.9 million
  • the day hospital will be staffed by a psychiatrist, registered nurses, a social worker, an occupational therapist, a recreation therapist and a pharmacist
  • people needing treatment and care for mental health and addictions can contact the Mental Health and Addictions Intake Service at 1-855-922-1122 to be matched with appropriate services


NOTE: This release was updated November 7 to remove an incorrect reference to conditions to be treated at the day hospital.