In order to meet the immediate and future mental health needs of Nova Scotians, CMHA recommends the following:
EQUITY: Indigenous and African Nova Scotians continue to face barriers when accessing support and treatment due to a legacy of colonialism and anti-Black racism. CMHA NS recommends provincial funding for Indigenous and African-Nova Scotian led mental health and substance use care to continue closing gaps in health outcomes between Indigenous and African Nova Scotians and non-Indigenous and African Nova Scotians .
- Learn more about PARITY in mental health HERE
HOUSING: Housing is a basic human right and requirement for good health. CMHA NS recommends the provincial government ensure that any current and new investments in housing provide access to a range of housing options, including supportive housing and rent supplements for vulnerable populations, including those with mental health and addictions needs.
EARLY INTERVENTION: Research tells us that the sooner identification, assessment and treatment start, the better the results. In fact, a prompt diagnosis and early intervention in the initial stages of a mental illness, rather than once a person is in crisis, can be life-changing. CMHA NS recommends investment in promotion and prevention efforts at the community level so that all Nova Scotians can access programs, services and care in their community before they reach the crisis level.
For dowloadable infographics on Equity, Parity, Early Intervention, Housing and the Social Determinants of Health visit https://novascotia.cmha.ca/mental-health/brochures/infographics/
WHERE THE PARTIES STAND
- To establish the Office of Mental Health and Addiction with a year one budget of $1.5 million.
- Increase mental health and addictions program spending by $12.3 million to establish new intervention sessions, withdrawal management hubs, and e-mental health options.
- Investment of $4 million annually to launch eight mental health walk-in clinics and providing $200,000 annually to fund new mobile street nurses in the CBRM.
- Allocation of $1.775 million to support the identification of unique mental health and addictions care needs for communities facing systemic barriers.
- Commit $500,000 annually to hire additional social workers within Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner programs.
- Annual investment of $1.5 million in new staffing and other supports.
- Provide an additional $2 million annually to support Nova Scotia’s Family Resource Centres.
- Committing up to $25 million to rebate the provincial portion of the HST on construction costs for new affordable housing units.
- Amending legislation to provide municipalities with the authority to offer property or commercial tax incentives for affordable housing developments.
- Consulting the Affordable Housing Association of Nova Scotia on the creation of a provincial loan fund for non-profit housing organizations.
- Expanding housing options available to include secondary suites, garage loft, tiny homes, and other non-traditional forms of housing.
- Introducing renter protections, requiring compensation equal to up to one month’s rent for each year lived in a dwelling place (up to 6 months), for renters displaced from their homes due to “renoviction.”
View the Nova Scotia Liberal Party’s full platform at https://liberal.ns.ca/our-plan/mental-health-addictions/
Nova Scotia NDP Party | Leader: Gary Burrill
- To establish a Mental Health Bill of Rights and moving to funding mental health services to the WHO’s recommended 10 per cent of the health budget.
- To make same-day/next-day in-person mental health appointments available across the province.
- To integrate mental health services with other services associated with mental distress, such as education, family supports and housing.
- Establish emergency mental health crisis teams across the province.
- Making rent control permanent so that annual rent increases are capped.
- Strengthening tenants’ rights, including allowing tenants to file group complaints, requiring landlords to post rental rates in a building, and creating a registry of health and safety violations in rental properties.
- Funding housing for African Nova Scotian communities, Mi’kmaw communities, people experiencing criminalization, lone parent households and other
marginalized populations. These funds could be used to support alternative ownership models including resident-run co-ops and community land trusts as ways to enable community control.
- Accelerating the building of Small Options Homes for people with disabilities.
- Addressing the financialization of housing. The NDP would explore options such as phasing out public money going to Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), implementing a vacant unit tax, and introducing progressive property taxes over $1 million.
- Strengthening the regulation of short-term rentals to stop the creation of “ghost hotels” and prevent the loss of long-term residential units
- Building 1000 new units of housing in the next four years by reinvesting in publicly-owned, cooperative, and non-profit housing.
- Supporting a permanent Housing Trust where provincial, municipal, and private resources would go to a pool of money that non-profit housing providers can access quickly in order to acquire and provide affordable housing.
- Exercising a right of first refusal to acquire existing affordable housing that comes on the market.
- Enabling municipalities to require affordable housing through inclusionary zoning.
View the Nova Scotia NDP Party’s full platform at https://www.nsndp.ca/sites/default/files/ndp.platform.2021-final-web.pdf
Nova Scotia PC Party | Leader: Tim Houston
- Create a separate department dedicated to mental health and addictions
- Open billing codes to allow private practitioners to deliver their service to everyone.
- Create a 24/7 mental-telehealth service.
- Launch a 9-8-8 mental health crisis line, separate from 9-1-1.
- Attract new mental health professionals to Nova Scotia.
- Increase training options for health professionals and educators.
- Address homelessness by assisting in the provision of shelters and by recognizing, addressing and seeking solutions to contributing factors of homelessness.
- Reduce taxes to businesses and families. Close off-shore tax loopholes. Tax relief for families who provide home care. Work with the provinces and municipalities to develop framework agreements that help low-income city dwellers access affordable housing, through the use of tax incentives for private sector builders.
View the Nova Scotia PC Party’s full platform at https://www.pcpartyns.ca/mental_health
Nova Scotia Green Party | Leader: Jessica Alexander (Interim)
- Increase access to appropriate reproductive healthcare throughout the province,
particularly for survivors of sexual assault and gender diverse peoples.
- Develop comprehensive strategies to provide relevant and appropriate mental health.
care and treatment for survivors of sexual and domestic assault.
- Mandate ongoing cultural sensitivity and anti–oppression training for all healthcare.
professionals, ensuring that they are well educated on treating 2SLGBTQQIA+ patients.
- Increase availability and accessibility of gender–affirming care.
- Require that mental health professionals are trained in climate grief and ecological
- Immediately implement a universal dental care and pharmacare program.
- Maintain telehealth and online access to health services after the pandemic.
- Drastically reduce ambulance fees, and work towards eliminating them with systems in place that will dissuade people from taking advantage of emergency services.
- Increase the supply of shelter beds and transitional housing for the homeless including
shelter spaces and supported housing for intact families.
- Immediately implement rent control as an emergency measure to prevent people from
losing their housing.
- Consider the pertinence of rent control on a long–term basis.
- Implement a Housing First28 strategy in Sydney, Halifax and Truro
- Increase the supply of safe, affordable and quality housing across the province as the .affordable housing stock needs to address the needs of all age groups, family sizes and people with disabilities Increase the mix of affordable housing to include public housing, co–ops, not for profits, small houses, and secondary suites, the mix will also include new builds, retrofitting existing buildings and repurposing empty buildings.
- Guarantee that in no case will any disability benefits be reduced by any change in living situation.
- Ensure that a provincial housing program is coordinated with other key policy areas such as a guaranteed liveable income, employment, recreation and leisure, transportation, health care and the environment.
- Work with CMHC, municipalities, housing organizations, Mi’kmaq communities, and the private sector to ensure that the full range of strategies can be utilized to address the issue.
- As recommended by the Nova Scotia Affordable Housing Commission, establish an arm’s length independent provincial housing entity.
Have a long–term affordable housing strategy that will ensure that future housing developments are done with a climate change lens that includes low GHG emissions and principles of accessibility and equity.
View the Nova Scotia Green Party’s full platform at https://greenpartyns.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/GPNS-Platform-2021.pdf
Talk to your local candidate and find out how they will create better access to mental health supports and substance use care for ALL Nova Scotians and remember to vote for mental health on August 17. We all have mental health and we all need to protect it.