Nova Scotia wants to fix mental health: An ambitious plan, a great Idea, and a possible solution to the mental health crisis in the province. Still, I have questions.
A few days ago, a dear friend of mine sent me a text message. Within that message was a link to a news article. And when I clicked on it, I got excited. The link took me to a news article. The article was entitled “Universal access to mental health services coming to N.S.” But when remains a mystery. (CBC NEWS, Feb 9, 2022).
As many of my regular readers know, Nova Scotia is where I have lived for my entire life. A small province on the eastern coast of Canada, with just under a million people living here. Therefore, I am well aware of the mental-health crisis that is afflicting our population.
So, upon reading the news, I was happy to hear that our newly-elected government was committing to its mandates. After all, political parties aren’t known for keeping their promises. Am I right?
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With that said, I remain cautiously optimistic. I mean, let’s face it, there’s a lot of work that they’ll have to do to get this right. However, I refuse to let my caution morph into a negative feeling. Instead, I am willing to work with this government to do my part to ensure better mental-health care for all. After all, if we are to move forward as a province, we are going to have to be unified and all work together.
The plan for mental health care.
My regular readers will recall that I wrote a post some time back called Two-tiered mental-health care system. In it, I explained that, here in Canada, our mental-health care is divided into two parts. One part is a for-profit system, and the other is funded by the government.
Here’s the lowdown:
While it was evident that there was infrastructure in place for mental-health care, what was more evident was its dysfunctions.
Our public mental-health care system has been decimated by cuts. This is not good, and quite frankly, I never understood why such a practice could ever improve anything.
Moreover, the other challenge has been the private sector. A system that works, for those who can afford it – however, I feel like it’s done more harm than good.
Why? Well, simply put, it divided up the mental-health care professionals, jammed up the public system, and left disadvantaged people to suffer in their mental pain.
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Essentially, when you divide your resources and restrict care by charging for services, you cause a long waiting list in the public sector.
Because the majority of those in desperate need of help, are those who can’t afford the $190.00/hr. They wait forever, self-medicate, and in the worst-case scenarios, they die.
To conclude my point, the cuts and the two-tiered mental-health system have caused real damage to those who couldn’t access the system. The extent to which we may never know.
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Now that the explanation of how we got to this point is out of the way, here’s the plan:
What the government wants to do is set up a system whereby the private sector will bill the government for its services. In doing so, it unifies the resources, and it offers greater access to more people. Great news.
At this moment in time, I personally believe that this particular model is the best way to deliver full-spectrum mental-health care. At least, in the shortest amount of time. If we’re being honest, we all know that there’s no way any government will take it out of the hands of the private sector.
And while this is definitely news worth celebrating, it, like all things, has its cons. For example, there are questions that still need to be answered. Questions like: What will be the role of the mental-health care professionals that come from the private sector?
Moreover, will private mental-health care practitioners be required to, let’s say, do rotation in ER’s? What about rotations on psych wards? Furthermore, will the mental-health crisis be recognized to the extent that it will turn into a seven-day-a-week service?
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And if so, which part of the mental-health care system will be charged with looking after it? If for some reason it ends up being placed squarely on the shoulders of the public system, I have to say that I believe this to be wrong. I feel so, because in order to have good mental-health care for all, our mental health-care professionals must be mentally healthy themselves.
Simply put, we have an opportunity to unify our mental-health resources so that they can all share the burden of the workload. I truly believe it’s time to evenly distribute the duties of those in the mental-health care system.
Furthermore, if we’ve learned anything from this pandemic, it’s this: those who are charged with keeping us safe and healthy, need to be treated well and compensated heavily for their good work. No more hassle when they are sick, no more short staff, and lastly, we need to invest in them more, not less.
In closing, I applaud the Nova Scotia government for boldly stepping out there and attempting to do what’s right – for EVERY Nova Scotian.
Got a suggestion or an idea on how to Improve mental health in Nova Scotia? Contact your local MLA, The minister of Mental Health and Addictions or the Premier’s office.
Not from Nova Scotia? Demand the something be done to help your corner of the world. Contact your elected officials and share this article.
Tim Huston, Premier of Nova Scotia https://premier.novascotia.ca/
- General Inquiries: 902-424-6600
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- Fax: 902-424-7648
- Toll Free: 1-800-267-1993
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Nova Scotia wants to fix mental health
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