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Pilot project: New mental health centre opens in Halifax

A new mental health centre opened in Halifax Tuesday.

Dalhousie University and the province of Nova Scotia have partnered with the goal of connecting more people to mental health and addictions services through the Dalhousie Centre for Psychological Health.

"No one should be denied healthcare because of an inability to pay - and mental health and addictions care is healthcare," said Brian Comer, Minister responsible for the Office of Addictions and Mental Health, in a news release Tuesday.

According to the news release provided by the province, the centre will serve Nova Scotians “who face barriers to accessing mental health services and adds to the list of publicly funded services that are available to Nova Scotians at no cost.”

People can receive referrals to the centre from community organizations and local health clinics.

PhD students from Dalhousie University’s clinical psychology program will provide services at the centre, under the supervision of registered clinical psychologists.

“This pilot project increases access to addictions and mental health services for Nova Scotians in need and provides invaluable learning for doctoral students in Dal's clinical psychology program,” said Chuck Macdonald, the dean of science at Dalhousie University.

There are seven part-time and two full-time registered clinical psychologists working at the clinic and 30 to 40 clinical psychology PhD students are expected to cycle through annually.

"My career goal is to work as a registered clinical psychologist specializing in diverse populations,” said Patrick Hickey, a PhD clinical psychology student at Dalhousie University.

“I am excited at the opportunity provided by the Dalhousie Centre for Psychological Health to gain relevant clinical training experience in working with diverse and underrepresented members of the community, and I know it will be of great benefit to me and my fellow students as we prepare to become practising clinical psychologists."

Comer says Nova Scotia does not have a road map to follow as the province is the first in Canada to commit to universal mental health and addictions care.

“By working with partners like Dalhousie on initiatives like this one, we're helping draw that map for others to follow while building a strong foundation for universal mental health and addictions care in Nova Scotia," said Comer.

Nova Scotia is spending $4.5 million over three years to fund the centre.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page. Top Stories

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