Bring the voices of mental health to Nova Scotia Health Authority board

Progressive Conservative leadership candidate Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin says it’s time for a mental health professional and a mental health advocate to be on the board of directors of the Nova Scotia Health Authority.

“Nova Scotians need mental health services that are focused on the people who need it the most,” said Smith-McCrossin, a registered nurse for more than 20 years and MLA for Cumberland North.  “The Nova Scotia Health Authority is not getting the job done and Stephen McNeil’s Liberals are not stepping up.  We need people with mental health expertise and experience at the board table to hold management accountable and make change happen.”
Last November, Auditor General Michael Pickup issued a report that highlighted major problems in Nova Scotia’s mental health system:

  • The Nova Scotia Health Authority “does not have a province-wide plan for mental health services”;
  • The health authority lacks province-wide mental health policies;
  • Patient and staff safety concerns “due to no or weak policies and practices”;
  • Wait times standards “are not applied consistently” across the province;
  • Staffing levels within crisis response areas are inconsistent;
  • No evaluation of the approximately $225 million in annual spending on mental health services in the province; and
  • The mental health strategy introduced by the former NDP government in 2012 was “poorly managed’ without any evaluation of the 2012-2017 strategy to measure its effectiveness.

“Is it any wonder so many Nova Scotians who need care and support to improve their mental health are falling through the cracks?” asked Smith-McCrossin.  “As PC Leader, I will demand that mental health have strong voices at the decision-making table.  If the Liberals don’t act, I will ask Nova Scotians to give the PC Party a mandate for change in mental health care and as Premier, I will make it happen.”
Mental health advocate Laurel Walker said she is pleased that Smith-McCrossin is using her leadership campaign to push for client-centered changes in mental health care.
“The mental health and addiction system is not client-centered at the NSHA. This means that the Nova Scotians that need help are not getting it in the way that would benefit them most,” added Walker. “Putting people, with lived experience and knowledge of what a client-centered system looks like, on the health authority board would be a positive step.”

This week is Mental Health Week in Nova Scotia and across Canada.

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