Houston government must ramp up mental health recruitment

Houston government must ramp up mental health recruitment

Premier Houston’s promise to deliver universal mental health care in Nova Scotia seems far-fetched without a specific plan to recruit more mental health professionals.

According to a recent Freedom of Information request, there are eight vacant psychiatric positions in the Eastern Zone, forcing residents in Cape Breton and surrounding communities to travel for care, or forego treatment entirely.

“Nova Scotians need better access to mental health and addictions treatment, and they need it close to home,” says Mental Health and Addictions critic Patricia Arab. “The Houston government must assure Nova Scotians they are doing everything they can to deliver these resources in every corner of the province.”

At an announcement for a new mental health day hospital in Halifax, Houston’s minister responsible for Mental Health and Addictions said he hoped the project could be replicated in other areas of the province, but that staffing shortages would provide significant challenges in making that a reality.

“Without a designated strategy to recruit and retain mental health professionals, many communities will continue to fall through the cracks,” says Arab. “This government needs to put a plan in motion for all Nova Scotians to have access to mental health and addictions care – no matter where they live.”