Local Crisis Mental Health Working Group Lobbies Government for Change

The Crisis Mental Health Working Group is lobbying the provincial government for stronger services in Pictou County for anyone experiencing a mental health crisis.

The working group is comprised of representatives from the six local municipalities and has been actively meeting for the past three years with a goal to greatly improve mental health crisis services in Pictou County.  

Current members include Pictou Mayor Jim Ryan, New Glasgow Mayor Nancy Dicks, Municipality of Pictou County Warden Robert Parker, Town of Trenton Mayor Don Hussher, Town of Westville Coun. Meghan Bragg, and Town of Stellarton Coun. Bryan Knight.

The group has met with staff from Nova Scotia Health’s Northern Zone, Aberdeen Hospital representatives and members of local communities who have had difficulties accessing crisis mental health services.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, a mental health crisis is any situation in which a person’s behaviour puts them at risk of hurting themselves or others. It can also mean that a person is unable to care for themselves or function. 

“People of Pictou County have been left out too long when it comes to services for the mental health crisis,” said MOPC Warden Robert Parker on behalf of the working group.  “There are less than adequate services available, and we have no beds in our local hospitals.”

After listening to health officials and citizen concerns, the Crisis Mental Health Working Group is calling on the Nova Scotia Government to improve services in Pictou County by opening a separate access point that would have beds available as well as having professional mental health staff on call and/or in person, 24 hours a day, seven days a week who would be solely focused on helping people in a mental health crisis. 

The working group will also continue listening to community organizations and local police as well as meeting with Nova Scotia’s Minister of Mental Health Brian Comer, Premier Tim Houston and Pictou County MLAs Pat Dunn and Karla MacFarlane in November.