Improving Mental Health Services and Support for Young People in Cape Breton

Your Liberal government understands the importance of mental health services for young people in our province. Today, we are pleased to announce we’re taking immediate action to enhance services and support for young people in Cape Breton.

Earlier this summer, Dr. Stan Kutcher, who is an expert in adolescent mental health, spent three days on the island meeting with families, school officials and the community to discuss how to address youth mental health concerns. His world-renowned work focuses on identifying ways to bridge gaps in mental health support.

Your Liberal government will be taking immediate action on the recommendations provided by Dr. Kutcher, beginning with the following:

  • enhancing support for the CaperBase initiative, which provides resources, mentoring and programming focused on building resilience and adaptive capacity among youth
  • ensuring the provincewide mental health crisis line has more staff to respond to higher numbers of calls
  • providing funding for the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School board to hire two more guidance counsellors and one social worker.

These initiatives will impact our younger population province-wide.

“I want to thank Dr. Kutcher, the school board, teachers and all our partners in the community for working together to strengthen mental health supports for our children,” said Zach Churchill, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development.

The following measures have also been recommended by Dr. Kutcher:

  • create a single structure to address all school-based mental health policies, plans, oversight and evaluation with direct reporting to the ministers of Health and Wellness and Education and Early Childhood Development
  • use nationally recognized expert input to update and revise the provincial suicide prevention framework
  • revise the School Code of Conduct Policy to clarify the use of evidence-based interventions related to student conflict, bully and cyberbullying
  • work with mental health experts to create an approved list of social-emotional learning and mental-health programs for all grades
  • develop a provincial policy that addresses the responsible use of students’ personal communication devices on school grounds.

“I thank Dr. Kutcher for responding to our call in June, and for his insight and recommendations presented today,” said Randy Delorey, Minister of Health and Wellness. “I know there is nothing we can say to lessen the loss felt by the Cape Breton community, but we are acting now on Dr. Kutcher’s recommendations to address issues and enhance mental health services and support to our youth.”

Your Liberal government remains committed to ensuring all Nova Scotians have access to mental health services. We want everyone in our province to receive the quality care they need, when they need it.