Mass Casualty Grief Support Plan Announced
The federal and provincial governments have announced an effort to deal with grief and mental health issues in the three counties where twenty-two people were killed in a shooting spree.
The joint effort will deliver mental health, grief and bereavement services in Cumberland, Colchester, and Hants, as recommended by the Mass Casualty Commission report.
Brian Comer, Minister responsible for Nova Scotia's Office of Addictions and Mental Health, and Carolyn Bennett, federal Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, announced an $18-million support program to begin immediately while they design a program to meet the communities unique long-term needs.
Comer said, “The tragic events that unfolded in this province three years ago have had a lasting impact on families of the victims and the communities they call home.”
The Mass Casualty Commission set a deadline of May 1 for the two governments to establish such a program.
The $18-million investment is over a two-year period with $9 million from the Province and an initial $9 million from the federal government.
The commission also recommended that the program:
- provide concerted supports on an urgent basis and transition to long-term care over time
- be developed and implemented by a local multidisciplinary team of health professionals
- provide Mi'kmaw communities the opportunity to participate in the program
- be funded to carry out needs and impact assessments in 2023, 2025 and 2028.
New mental health outreach staff will be based in Truro starting Monday, May 1. The outreach workers will travel to communities to provide mental wellness supports to individuals and groups. They will also help connect people to other supports, including clinical mental healthcare as needed.
A mobile clinical team will be available on Saturdays in May at the Bass River Fire Hall. A schedule of dates, times and community locations across Cumberland, Colchester, and Hants counties will be made available as the service expands.
A second team focused on community engagement will be on-site with the mobile unit to hear from the community on how to best meet their needs.
Members of the community can call 211 for more information.
Recruitment has started for a range of clinical and front-line staff to deliver community-based care, including a clinical grief lead who will be responsible for providing expertise in grief and bereavement services in the northern health zone and across the healthcare system, along with grief and bereavement specialists, mental health clinicians, nurse practitioners, outreach workers, navigators, and more.
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