Better support for community-based mental health programs and alternative treatment:
— The annual budget for programs that include peer mentors, mental health clinicians in schools, and improved family supports has been increased and the provincial government says how those services are delivered has been reviewed to ensure they are effective.
Increasing funding for mental health services:
— Advocates say it has improved but more money is needed. Former NDP health minister Maureen MacDonald says an initial injection of $5.2-million in 2012-13 was intended to rise to an annual amount of about $20 million by 2017, but she fears significant funding increases and the addition of more community facilities have stalled.
Better support and access to housing for people discharged from involuntary treatment or correctional facilities:
— Advocates say this recommendation has not been followed, but the Department of Community Services says it is developing a new housing program to address homelessness and has funded eight positions to help people find appropriate housing. Last year, housing support workers helped 460 people move from shelters or unstable housing to permanent housing.
Restricting the use of conducted energy weapons on people who are in a state of agitation due to an emotional or psychological disturbance, except as a last resort once crisis intervention techniques have failed:
— Progress has been made and work continues on this recommendation. The Department of Justice developed a training program that emphasizes crisis intervention and non-violent alternatives to the use of stun guns. The Atlantic Police Academy has recertified all conducted energy weapons instructors in Nova Scotia based on the revised training manual, and Halifax police say training is ongoing in crisis intervention techniques with 126 people receiving training.
Improving online training offered by the Justice Department to recognize someone who is emotionally disturbed, as well as improving skills development through role-playing and in-classroom instruction:
— Experts and officials say this recommendation has been acted on.
(Sources: The Canadian Mental Health Association, Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia departments of Community Services, Justice and Health, Halifax Regional Police.)