The government in Nova Scotia has committed to improving adolescent mental health and addictions services in the province, following the release of a report reviewing child and youth mental health and addictions services in the Halifax Regional Municipality. The report was recommended following the external review of the Halifax Regional School Board’s handling of the Rehtaeh Parson’s case. Prepared by Dr. Jana Davidson, a nationally-recognized expert in children’s mental health, the report highlighted existing challenges in youth mental health services, policies and programs, as well as outlining 14 recommendations for improvement.
The main challenges identified in the report include recruitment and retention of doctors, lack of collaboration among those delivering services, and gaps in delivery of physical services for 17 to 19-year-olds.
To address these concerns, the report outlines the need for more adolescent psychiatrists and integrating all health care for children and youth up to age 19. It also recommends introducing mental health screening to facilitate early identification of mental health and addiction issues , and establishing a standard suicide risk assessment tool for all appropriate care providers in the system.
Following the report’s release, the Government of Nova Scotia expressed support for its findings. Nova Scotia Health and Wellness Minister Leo Glavine told the Canadian Press that he would look to recruit more adolescent psychiatrists to meet the report’s recommendations.
“Our goal is to improve mental health and addictions services for patients and the people who love them,” he said in a government release. “We are dealing with young people who need the best care possible.”
Read the complete report on the Government of Nova Scotia website.