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'It really should be expanded' : Dal prof welcomes mental health walk-in clinic

The clinic is called Pause and it's being piloted by the North End Community Health Centre
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(stock photo)

An expert in youth mental health says a new mental health walk-in clinic in Halifax's north end is exactly what we need more of in our community.

The clinic is called Pause and it's being piloted by the North End Community Health Centre.

Free 45-minute counselling appointments for adults are offered every Tuesday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Mobile Outreach Street Health space at 2131 Gottingen St. on a first come, first served basis.

"Almost 2 million Canadians have reported they have unmet mental health needs every year, and there's long wait lists for people to get in and achieve mental health services," says Dr. Lynne Robinson, an associate professor at Dalhousie University's School of Health and Human Performance.

"We just don't have enough services for the level of response that's needed, and we know the needs are just going to increase."

The service isn't meant for those in an emergency situation, but Pause says those experiencing grief or sadness, those with addiction concerns or in need of help managing mental health symptoms will be treated with respect while speaking with someone.

"We believe that just by showing up and having a conversation with a clinician, that this can be therapeutic in and of itself," says a handout from Pause. 

Robinson tells NEWS 95.7's The Sheldon MacLeod Show, studies suggest that's true.

"Often one session is enough to help people to move forward ... we've had some recent studies done in Ontario where they're expanding this kind of walk-in clinic care and these studies have shown that this is a very effective way to deal with mental health issues," she explains.

"It's good the community is doing this, but I would really strongly advocate for more support for this kind of service to be available ... it should be available on a daily basis. It really should be expanded."

She says many mental health care services are provided by family doctors, but several Nova Scotians don't have one. She believes, with more of these walk-in clinics, pressure could be eased on other parts of the health care system.

Robinson adds, like other health issues, early access to mental health care could help prevent many situations from becoming worse.

Pause says don't expect to see the same clinician every time, or a prescription, diagnosis, psychiatrist referral or to be booked for a follow-up appointment.

Anyone needing emergency mental health care should call the Mental Health Crisis Line at 1-888-429-8167. It's available 24/7.

Meghan Groff

About the Author: Meghan Groff

Born in Michigan, raised in Ontario, schooled in Indiana & lives in Nova Scotia; Meghan is the community editor for
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