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Eastern Health boosting mental health, addictions support on Burin Peninsula

James McLeod/The Telegram<br />Eastern Health CEO David Diamond announced an array of budget cuts Monday, including the closure of the Masonic Park long term care home, and changes to routine breast cancer screening.
Eastern Health president and CEO David Diamond. - SaltWire Network file photo

ST. JOHN’S, NL – Eastern Health announced numerous new measures to expand primary health care services and improve access to mental health and addictions services on the Burin Peninsula on Tuesday.

It’s part of a primary health-care initiative established in the region this past May that involved surveying residents to determine what was working in health-care services as well as where improvement was needed.

Access to mental health and addictions services was identified as an area requiring more focus.

The recent number of suicides in the Grand Bank area has also highlighted the need for additional services and support, a news release from Eastern Health stated.

Drop-in service

One of the measures announced is a mental health and addictions wellness and resources drop-in service in Grand Bank, starting on Wednesday, Nov. 29.

The service will operate each Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Dr. S. Beckley Health Centre in Grand Bank and will be staffed by a registered nurse and social worker.

Mental health and addictions support will also be available by appointment during the other days of the week.

“This is an important step as we continue to strengthen primary health care on the Burin Peninsula,” said Eastern Health president and CEO David Diamond.

“Providing the most appropriate services to people, when and where they are most needed, will help improve the overall health of the population."

Mental health and addictions services will also be increased in Marystown.

On Mondays and Tuesdays, Eastern Health will offer a walk-in mental health and addictions clinic in the Marystown Community Services Building, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., which will include DoorWays single-session counselling, among other services.

Eastern Health is also partnering with Richard’s Legacy Foundation for Survivors of Suicide Loss, Inc. to offer suicide intervention training (ASIST) to health-care professionals and community groups on the Burin Peninsula in December, February and March.

Coalition created

Eastern Health partnered with town councils and community agencies on the Burin Peninsula to form a Coalition for Mental Health and Wellness in August of this year.

“The new coalition will foster a healthy community by promoting mental health and addictions awareness, reducing stigma and improving quality of life,” said Kim Grant, Eastern Health’s regional director of mental health and addictions – community.

“Our community partners will assist us as we improve access to mental health services in general, and develop a community action plan for suicide prevention, intervention and post-suicide supports.”

The Burin Peninsula Community Coalition for Mental Health and Wellness will be aligned with a newly formed Community Advisory Council, which will guide the recently established Burin Peninsula Primary Health Care Initiative.

Access to primary health care will be improved with the hiring of a nurse practitioner at the Terrenceville Medical Clinic to provide service to residents of the area for two days per week.

“This new primary health-care initiative provides individuals and communities with an opportunity to partner with us, as we identify renewed priorities and goals on the Burin Peninsula,” said Kim Green, Eastern Health’s rural health manager and senior site manager at the Burin Peninsula Health Care Centre.

“All of these new and enhanced services are aimed at a transformed model of primary health care, which can be sustained into the future for the benefit of the men, women and children we serve in this area.”

More information on the Burin Peninsula Primary Health Care Initiative and the Burin Peninsula Community Coalition for Mental Health and Wellness is available on Eastern Health’s website.

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