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Dartmouth North residents stressed about loss of mental health services

Susan Leblanc. Photo Robert Devet

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – In order to co-locate medical services, the Nova Scotia Health Authority is moving mental health and addictions services from three downtown Dartmouth locations to a new location in the Portland Hills subdivision. 

Leases were expiring, one place wasn’t very accessible, and there was an opportunity to consolidate services under one roof, explained Samantha Hodder, the senior director  for mental health and addiction services at the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA), at the February 9 Standing Committee on Health

Dartmouth North MLA Susan Leblanc is concerned that this will make in-person access difficult for residents of her riding. 

“Unfortunately, as with many things that are labelled accessible, it’s not actually that accessible for folks in Dartmouth North. Even getting downtown to their appointments is a challenge for many people, to get all the way up to Portland Hills is just not possible for them,” Leblanc says.

Not only do you need to switch buses, but there’s many people who don’t use transit for a variety of reasons, often to do with mental health issues, she explains. Meanwhile, people in Dartmouth North experience high unemployment and have very low incomes. We have a lot of people who are accessing or need to access mental health and addiction services.

To address the issue Leblanc hopes to convince the Department of Health to set up satellite offices in her riding, something Hodder suggested the NSHA was open to exploring at that same February committee meeting.

And that was the last we heard, says Leblanc. 

Leblanc hopes that if people sign a petition, it will serve as a reminder of the Dartmouth North loss to the NSHA, and help them recognize that something must be done to address this.

You can download the petition here (which you can print out and circulate among your contacts, clients, or customers) or pick up hard copies in the constituency office at 260 Wyse Road, Unit 102.

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One Comment

  1. Kendall Worth here!

    As someone who up from 2003 till 2012ish used to live in the Dartmouth North neighborhood at one time before I moved to what is now my Halifax Address, I have gotten to know this Dartmouth North Community where Susan Leblanc is now the MLA right well. Even though a few years have gone by since my days of once living in Dartmouth North I still remember my days of once living there like it was yesterday.

    Back in my days of once living in this community I have seen evidence of exactly what Susan is talking about when she says in this article “Not only do you need to switch buses, but there’s many people who don’t use transit for a variety of reasons, often to do with mental health issues, she explains. Meanwhile, people in Dartmouth North experience high unemployment and have very low incomes. We have a lot of people who are accessing or need to access mental health and addiction services”. As you all know I am one of the writers for Nova Scotia Advocate and not only myself noticed these things. You readers may remember the Daryl and Dianne stories I written for the advocate. And here is the latest story I have done on Daryl “https://nsadvocate.org/2020/12/09/kendall-worth-a-change-of-scenery-will-do-you-good/” . If you click on that link, you will find the links to other I have done on them. Anyway when Daryl had his days of once living in Dartmouth North he also Noticed evidence of exactly what Susan is saying as well.

    I believe the ideal location for Mental Health and Addition services would be in the Dartmouth North Neighborhood.

    Question: -Why can’t the Health Authority not rent space in a location such as Where the Sobeys used to on the corner of Victory and Primrose? (and I know Dartmouth North Food Kitchen is located there), but it is my understanding that there is still lots of space their that is being used for nothing. If not in that location then there are places along Wyse road that can also be considered for use of Mental Health and Addiction Services. Why not make a deal with the Dartmouth North Community Center where they can locate the mental health and Addition services there for example?

    Anyway their has got to be a better location for Dartmouth North Residents then expecting them for travel all the way out to Portland Hills.

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