MLA launches petition for mental health, addictions services in north-end Dartmouth

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Belmont House in downtown Dartmouth is one of three clinics that will move out of the area to a consolidated location in Portland Hills later this year. (Google Streetview - image credit)
Belmont House in downtown Dartmouth is one of three clinics that will move out of the area to a consolidated location in Portland Hills later this year. (Google Streetview - image credit)

A Dartmouth MLA has launched a petition in support of more accessible mental health and addictions services for her constituents.

Three downtown clinics — Connections Dartmouth on Portland Street, Belmont House on Alderney Drive and a clinic on Wyse Road — are preparing to consolidate and move to a single building in Portland Hills as their respective leases expire this year.

Nova Scotia Health has said the new location is fully accessible and on a bus route.

However, Susan Leblanc, the MLA for Dartmouth North, has said the move could create hardships for some people getting from her area to the new location.

Leblanc is seeking public support for a satellite clinic in her constituency, something health authority officials have said is being considered.

Serving people where they live

Leblanc said bringing the services closer to where people live makes it even more likely people will reach out for help.

"An investment in a community means that the community is being seen and that somebody is making an effort to make their life easier, that they matter as much as everyone else," she said.

Gathering signatures for a petition means Leblanc can bring the issue to the floor of the Nova Scotia legislature during the spring sitting. MLAs return to Province House next week.

A spokesperson for the health authority said talks continue with potential partners for a satellite clinic, but there are no firm plans yet.

While clinicians are doing community outreach with clients, the health authority would like to see a situation similar to what happens in north-end Halifax, where mental health services are available within family practice settings.

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