Premier Tim Houston. (Communications N.S photo)

The following is a column submitted by Premier Tim Houston’s office to media.

All Nova Scotians should be able to access free mental health care – no matter where you live in the province, regardless of your ability to pay out of pocket.

We’re pulling every lever to make it happen. We hit the ground running and launched a suite of new services to support mental health. 

Services like:                                                                        

Single-session counselling through Access Wellness for concerns like anxiety, job loss, grief, relationship issues and substance use.

A new peer support line (1-800-307-1686) where people struggling with mental health and substance use can talk to people who have overcome similar challenges.  

Online tools like Tranquility that provide coaching for people with mild to moderate depression and anxiety.

All are available right now. All are absolutely free. 

We’ve opened two Mental Health Acute Day Hospitals, where people can get intensive treatment during the day and still go home to their loved ones at night. And we now have Recovery Support Centres in five communities across the province where Nova Scotians struggling with addictions can get treatment and support.

Recently, we launched two new pilot projects that could be game changers for the future of mental health.  

To tackle lengthy waitlists for autism and ADHD assessments, our government is paying private practice psychologists to help. Under the pilot, the Province will pay the specialist for your care – a first in Canada and an important step toward universal mental health care. 

Because the government is funding these assessments, there is no cost to families and no one’s spot on the waitlist will change. The only difference is people who need these important assessments will get them faster, so they can get care sooner.  

A new mental health clinic also opened at Dalhousie University to provide care for people who have struggled to access mental health care, at no cost. It could be a model for future clinics.   

You don’t need to wait for a doctor’s referral to get mental health and addictions care. You can find services at or call the mental health and addictions phone line (1-855-922-1122) to speak with a clinician who can connect you with the right care. 

Mental health care is healthcare. It’s about getting the right service, from the right provider, at the right time. Available to every Nova Scotian – not just the ones lucky enough to be able to afford it.  

We’re making progress and we won’t stop until this vision is a reality in Nova Scotia.

Tim Houston

Premier of Nova Scotia