Brian Comer, Minister responsible for the Office of Addictions and Mental Health. (Healey photo)

From a release

HALIFAX: Volunteer firefighters and volunteer members of ground search and rescue teams can now access new mental health supports – any time, at no cost.

The Nova Scotia Firefighter and Ground Search and Rescue Volunteer Assistance Program gives these first responders and their families access to a range of health and wellness services, including personal and family counselling, financial advice, stress management and nutrition advice, and more.

“Volunteer first responders play such an important role in communities across Nova Scotia where, in many cases, they are the first to respond in an emergency,” said Brian Comer, Minister of Addictions and Mental Health.

“This new program is a way to support our volunteer firefighters and ground search and rescue teams – to help the helpers who do so much for us.”


The program includes counselling from mental health clinicians, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week in person, by phone or online.

The service is part of a two-year pilot program with Telus Health that will help the government better understand the mental health needs of volunteer firefighters and ground search and rescue volunteers.

Quick Facts:
– the Province is investing $75,000 over two years for the program, announced in November
– there are about 6,000 volunteer firefighters and 1,200 ground search and rescue volunteers in Nova Scotia
– volunteer first responders can also access PSPNET, a free online service that provides mental health and well-being support to public safety personnel experiencing challenges related to anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress.


Additional Resources:
News release – New Mental Health Supports for Volunteer Firefighters, Ground Search and Rescue:


National suicide prevention line: 9-8-8


Mental health crisis line: 1-888-429-8167 (toll-free).

It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week for anyone experiencing a mental health crisis or people concerned about someone else

For non-crisis support, people needing treatment and care for mental health and addictions can contact the mental health and addictions intake service at 1-855-922-1122 to be matched with appropriate services.