The Nova Scotia government is handing over $850,000 in federal funds to 28 groups that provide mental health advice, programs or services to people in communities across the province.
The one-time mental health grants will allow those organizations to bolster their services in light of the ongoing pandemic.
"Supporting local organizations who deal with vulnerable populations on the ground is key to our strategy to ensure people are getting the mental health supports that they need, when and where they need it," said Health Minister Zach Churchill.
He said the ongoing pandemic has been hard on Nova Scotians.
"This has been a stressful year on people's health and wellness, particularly those that are in isolation situations," Churchill said in an interview from his home in Yarmouth.
"Having community organizations the provide that local lens and local support, and also [having] people who know the individuals and their community who need support, I think is a key part of our overall strategy."
Reaching 'as many Nova Scotians as possible'
The Nova Scotia division of the Canadian Mental Health Association received an $80,000 budget boost.
"We're delighted because what it enables us to do is provide more, almost continuous online programming and make it available at no cost so that those most vulnerable amongst us can access it," said Patricia Murray, the division's interim executive director.
"And that's ultimately what we want to be able to do, is to reach as many Nova Scotians as possible."
The association has been providing online group support for individuals struggling with mental health issues and the added stress of pandemic-related restrictions.
"We've had it easier than some, but we're in the thick of it now and it has gone on for a long time ... that kind of anxiety builds over time, and so we know there are a lot of very anxious people out there," said Murray.
"What we'd like to be able to do is give them ways to express what they're feeling and then ways to deal with it."
$200K for Health Association of African Canadians
The Health Association of African Canadians, based in Cherry Brook, received the largest grant.
The $200,000 will be used to develop health resources for Black women, said association co-president Sharon Davis-Murdock in a government news release.
Churchill said it's important to have culturally specific strategies to support communities.
"It's a segment of population that we recognize has been underserved for sure," he said.
Other groups receiving the grants include:
The Brain Injury Association of Nova Scotia, $25,000.
Autism Nova Scotia, $25,000.
Caregivers Nova Scotia, $25,000.
Prescott Group, $25,000.
Inclusion Nova Scotia, $25,000.
Mawita'mk Society, $25,000.
Canadian Association of Community Living (Antigonish), $25,000.
Vision Loss Rehabilitation, $25,000.
Canadian Council of the Blind (Nova Scotia Chapters), $25,000.
New Dawn Enterprises, $25,000.
Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia, $50,000.
Antigonish Women's Centre and Sexual Assault Services Association, $25,000.
La Fédération acadienne de la Nouvelle-Écosse, $25,000.
Elizabeth Fry, $15,000.
From the Ground Up, $10,000.
7th Step, $10,000.
Nova Scotia Community Links, $25,000.
Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia, $25,000.
Eating Disorders Nova Scotia, $25,000.
Laing House, $25,000.
Youth Project, $25,000.
MacPhee Centre for Creative Learning, $25,000.
Healthy Minds Cooperative, $10,000.
The Public Good Society, $15,000.
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