Modern life is stressful, and sometimes just surviving the day-to-day with good humour intact can be a challenge. If you’re dealing with work, family or health challenges, the struggle can be even more difficult, leading to or exacerbating depression, anxiety or other mental health issues. While lifestyle interventions may sometimes be helpful, there are other times when eating well, exercising regularly and incorporating mindfulness techniques into your usual routines just isn’t enough.
That’s when it’s time to seek expert help.
For many people, getting help with mental health begins with a visit to their family doctor. Sounds easy – but if you’re one of the 137,500 people in Nova Scotia who doesn’t have access to a primary care physician, that mode of accessing mental health supports doesn’t exist.
Happily, support for mental health has come a long way, with virtual appointments, apps and other resources helping patients get the help they need on their own terms. Nova Scotians may access variety of mental health tools and supports online or over the phone, without a referral.
(Note: If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, call the Provincial Mental Health and Addictions Crisis Line toll-free at 1-888-429-8167 or dial 911. Children and youth can also call the Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868.)
If you’re looking for mental health support in your community or online, your first stop should be the Nova Scotia Health Mental Health and Addictions Program homepage. There, you’ll find links to resources on a range of symptoms and conditions, including some just for members of equity-deserving populations.
The provincial health authority is also working with partner organizations that provide mental health resources and training online. Find peer support, manage stress and anxiety better, develop a mindfulness practice or engage in internet-based cognitive and behavioural therapy to treat mild to moderate depression.
The Canadian Mental Health Association’s Nova Scotia division also offers online resources, including BounceBack, a virtual program that helps people aged 15 and over learn skills to improve their mental health. Check their Resource Guide for more information about how to get help, community resources and helpful tips.
Nova Scotians can also call 211 to speak to someone who can connect them to mental health resources in their community.