**** NSHA Media Release
Free psychological sessions offered in wake of anniversary of tragic events in Portapique
The Association of Psychologists of NS (APNS) and Nova Scotia Health are collaborating to increase support to Nova Scotians impacted by the mass casualty that occurred on April 18 and 19, 2020.
A group of psychologists across Nova Scotia are offering free short-term therapy around the anniversary of the mass casualty events. These sessions will be available starting April 5 until May 7.
People experiencing emotions related to the mass casualty last year have access to sessions (up to three) to talk about difficulties they define as impacting their mental wellness, and ways of coping.
An individual can call 902-422-9183, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday to Friday, to arrange an initial appointment with a psychologist within 48 hours.
“Psychologists are familiar with helping people with trauma and distress. Last year psychologists volunteered to help people affected by the tragic events of April 2020. Similarly, this year some psychologists have volunteered to provide brief therapy to people distressed by the anniversary of that event. We want to add to the good initiatives of the Nova Scotia Health,” said Dr. Victor Day, APNS disaster response coordinator.
Although this initial call for service may be a long-distance call for some, it is meant to be brief and will start the process to connect the caller with a psychologist. When calling, people should indicate they have been impacted by the tragedy.
Psychologists will offer their expertise, free of charge, via online video conference, or by telephone, due to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions.
“We are grateful to collaborate with APNS and its members to offer supports to Nova Scotians in the wake of this tragedy. Nova Scotia Health stands together with our community and our province during this difficult time, and is focused on providing individuals in all our communities’ access to support,” said Sam Hodder, senior director, Nova Scotia Health, Mental Health and Addictions Program.
This is an opportunity for those impacted to discuss how the tragic events are affecting them, and ways to build on their coping skills. If needed, it will also be an opportunity to talk about how individuals can access further care and support.
This service is in collaboration with programs and services available through Nova Scotia Health’s Mental Health and Addictions Program.
Nova Scotians are able to self-refer to the Community Mental Health and Addictions clinics, Withdrawal Management Services or Opioid Replacement and Treatment Program. Call the Mental Health and Addictions Program Intake Service Line (toll-free) 1-855-922-1122, to be connected to a clinician Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. This line has voicemail only on evenings, weekends and holidays.
The Provincial Mental Health Crisis Line is available 24/7 for anyone experiencing a mental health crisis or someone concerned about them. Call (toll-free) 1-888-429-8167.
Visit Mental Health and Addiction’s website, http://MHAhelpNS.ca, to learn more about our services, resources, and tools.
First Responders impacted by the tragedy and by every day stressors and traumatic events can visit http://firstrespondersmentalhealthns.com/ which promotes eliminating stigma and providing mental health supports for First Responders.
If anyone has mental health or addiction-related concerns or concerned about someone else, please do not hesitate to reach out.