Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mental Health Coalition of Nova Scotia

“Conservatism is a set of beliefs that ‘springs from a desire to conserve existing things, held to be either good in themselves, or better than the likely alternatives, or at least safe, familiar, and the objects of trust and affection (Mullaly, 2007, 70).”

In Nova Scotia, Canada, there have been many problems in regard to the Conservatives not helping out society’s mentally disabled. The Conservatives have unsuccessfully offered mental health services that would be available to all Nova Scotians. “Services are not always available when and where they are needed, and Nova Scotian families are suffering as a result (O’Connor, 2009).” According to O’Connor, it is remarkably difficult for the adolescents of Nova Scotia to receive the type of mental health services they desire, because the wait times have increased drastically. As a result, O’Connor states, there are more suicide attempts among minors than in the past.

The Conservatives have been bashed, as they are not helping the mentally ill; no matter what the age. People, especially children, who are not being treated for their mental disorder, are more likely to get into a dilemma with the law at some point of their lives. It is thought that we could blame the Conservative government for not providing enough money for mental health services in Nova Scotia. As O’Connor points out, because of the Conservatives, not everyone has had an equal chance and opportunity to get the help they truly deserve; mainly those with mental illnesses. The Deputy Health Minister of Nova Scotia also believes that not everyone is receiving the help they need.

“The Conservative government has had almost 10 years to fix the problems in mental health, for children, teens, and adults, and they have failed (O’Connor, 2009).”  Many Nova Scotian families are suffering, and I truly believe something must be done immediately. O’Connor states that approximately 20% of people during their life will be affected by a mental illness. Furthermore, it is their right to receive the help they need until they have improved no matter what their age is.

Conservatives believe that everyone should help themselves, but not all people are able to do so, especially those with mental illnesses. One would think that suicide attempts among minors, and the idea that people, mainly children with mental illnesses if not treated, are more likely to commit crime, would encourage the Conservatives to fix the major problems. Since the Conservative government of Nova Scotia has had about a decade to fix the problems in mental health, and have not, the NDP is stepping in. If the NDP did not step in, the Conservatives would have to begin fixing their problems, before society crumbles even more. They would have to most definitely increase the number of mental health services available to all members of society with a mental illness. As O’Connor puts it, services are not always available when and where they are needed, and Nova Scotian families are suffering as a result. Since the lack of services is affecting not only the individual with a mental illness, but the entire family (as the family is most likely responsible for taking care of the individual), it is clear that the Conservatives must have mental health services available throughout the maritime of Nova Scotia, and with extended hours, to ensure everyone is being treated. By doing this, there would be less attempts of suicide amongst minors, the crime rate would decrease, and many individuals with mental illnesses would be healthier, and their overall families would be happier and less stressed.

However, we can be thankful we do not have to rely on the Conservative government to help the struggling members of society with mental illnesses. The Conservatives would most likely not fix the problems anyway, as we have noticed this over the last decade. Instead, the NDP is taking initiative. The NDP plans to give all an equal chance to have the mental health service they need, and when they need it. The NDP plan, the “Better Deal 2009, includes the Every Kid Counts Program, which will establish 24/7 mental health crisis teams and Mental Health Teams in the school system (O’Connor, 2009).” Also, there will be plenty of sufficient mental health resources. The NDP plans to put a stop to and/or treat those with mental illnesses (as part of the health care system for all Nova Scotians.)

I believe, as anyone would, that individuals in Nova Scotia have been suffering way too long. Since the Conservatives have failed, I am glad to hear the NDP is stepping in. Their plans seem almost too good to be true. Nova Scotians need help immediately and desperately. I think what the NDP has planned will be beneficial to the society of Nova Scotia, but mainly towards individuals with mental illnesses and their families. The NDP says that they will give all an equal chance to have the mental health services they need and when they need it. I believe this is only possible if the number of mental health services increase greatly, and are spread to all areas of Nova Scotia. That way the mental health services and programs are close to all. Also, by extended the hours of operation of these programs and services, those with mental illnesses will be sure to have the adequate help the need, when they need, and for as long as they need. The Better Deal 2009 plan (including the Every Kid Counts Program) seems like a new organization that if followed through would be supported by many. Having mental health crisis teams are an excellent way for individuals with mental illnesses to be supported and treated effectively. By having Mental Heath Teams in the school system, many children with mental illnesses can receive the help they need. Also, students who have not yet been diagnosed with a mental illness may have the opportunity to be diagnosed and treated before it is too late. A negative effect of the Every Kid Counts Program is I believe not every school or every school system will have a Mental Health Team, which could mean many children with mental illnesses may not receive the help they need; unless they go to other programs and services outside of school. Lastly, it is great to know that those who will be receiving the treatment for their mental illness will be covered under the health care system. This will encourage more individuals to receive help, by taking another burden of their shoulder.

Ashley R.
The Neo-Conservatism Paradigm [Chapter 3]. (2007). In The New Structural Social Work (3rd ed., p.
70). Canada: Oxford University Press.

O'Connor, D. (2009, May 25). Mental Health Coalition of Nova Scotia – Election 2009 Nova Scotia NDP.



  1. Great post, I totally agree with your opinion on how the conservative government needs to be recognizing people with mental disabilities. Since so many people in our country are experiencing these kinds of illnesses you'd assume that the government would be trying to figure out a way to help this growing problem. I had no idea that the number of people facing a mental disability was 20% (much higher than I expected). It is also sad to hear that many of these suicide attempts are happening in Nova Scotia. I feel like it may make it more difficult for this issue to get the attention it needs from this government because it is such a small province, compared to Toronto for example.

    This is a typical conservative government view on this problem. As they believe that it is the job of the family, or person themselves who is experiencing problems, their duty to fix it. However, what the conservatives don’t seem to consider is the fact that some mentally disabled aren't able to help themselves. The deserving poor are the people who can't help themselves, so my question is why are the conservatives taking their time to do something about this issue?

    I'm happy to see that the NDP is stepping up though. Their plan that they have set sounds great, and hopefully it will start to better people who are mentally disabled. These people deserve the opportunities, treatment, and care.

    -Jessica VL

  2. From some of the research that I did in this area, I'm gathering that the Conservative government does not respond to these particular "deserving poor" because mental illness is often not recognized as an illness, but often a sign of weakness or an infliction where one can find help withing themselves and their community. That's really great to hear that action is being taken to improve this dismal looking situation.
    -Crystal M.

  3. Well done. I feel like this issue should have been addressed sooner. It is really great that the NDP is now stepping in, the plan sounds like it will be very beneficial in making changes. It makes me wonder how many other voices are not being heard by the government or anybody for that matter.

    The mentally ill are not able to help themselves without help from their support system. It is everyone's right to be provided with the help they need no matter where they come from, or their age or how they came to this situation.

    Dana W