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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