Media Release: Pathways to Hope Legacy Fund supports better outcomes for families and individuals touched by mental illness

Monday, March 19, 2012 - 4:34pm

(Halifax) – The Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia and Capital Health’s Mental Health Program are launching a groundbreaking initiative this spring that will develop and implement person- and family-centred collaborative care throughout Capital district and the province.

For the past two years, the Mental Health Program has been gathering feedback and recommendations on ways to improve services. It has been hearing from individuals living with mental illness, their family members (significant supports) and community-based support groups. The common theme that emerged, supported in evidence-based literature, is that better collaboration among the people receiving care, their significant supports and health care clinicians improves the chances for recovery.

Dani Himmelman, chair of the Feedback and Experience Action Team, a mother and an individual living with mental illness, said: “Based on my own experience and listening to other patients and families in focus groups and support groups, I believe we all want to have different relationships with the professionals providing our care. We want to be recognized and included as collaborative partners in the planning of our care not just patients who receive care.”

The Mental Health Foundation’s Pathways to Hope Legacy Fund and the visionary leadership donors whose gifts allowed its creation, will help make this a reality for Nova Scotians.

The first phase of a three-year plan will begin in June with the Meriden Family Programme providing training to mental health clinicians in Capital Health’s Mental Health Program. U.K.-based Meriden is a world-recognized leader in patient and family-sensitive collaborative mental health care training and delivery. Its guidance will help develop a higher level of expertise among clinicians and communities, build capacity to positively affect long-term outcomes for people living with severe mental illness across Nova Scotia, and ensure sustainability of these skills in a trained workforce.

The Foundation’s aim is to improve the quality of life of those living with mental illness and their circle of support.

“We are committed to initiatives that touch as many people as this one will,” said Danny Chedrawe, board chair of the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia. “One in five people live with mental illness, but many more are affected when you consider their families, friends and others who support them.” 

The Pathways to Hope Legacy Fund is established in honour of those community leaders who, with vision and courage, stepped forward to give of their time, talent and personal donations, leading the Foundation in its mission to create a compassionate and caring community network of support for Nova Scotians – family, friends, co-workers, neighbours – living with mental illness.

Media Enquiries:

Maureen Wheller, Senior Communications Advisor, Capital Health Mental Health Program, (902) 464-3171 or (902) 221-7008.

Lisa Mills, President & CEO, Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia, (902) 464-6000.

The Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia is a registered charitable foundation established to raise funds and awareness on behalf of Nova Scotians living with mental illness.  Together, with like-minded partners and individuals in Nova Scotia and across Canada, the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia has been working to address gaps in service -- leading the way as an awareness builder and a funder of vital prevention, intervention, treatment and reintegration programs for mental health care.

Capital Health comprises: Addiction Prevention and Treatment Services; Capital District Mental Health Program; Centre for Clinical Research; Cobequid Community Health Centre; Community Health; Dartmouth General Hospital; East Coast Forensic Hospital; Eastern Shore Memorial Hospital; Hants Community Hospital; Integrated Continuing Care; Musquodoboit Valley Memorial Hospital; Nova Scotia Environmental Health Centre; The Nova Scotia Hospital; Public Health Services; Twin Oaks Memorial Hospital; and the QEII Health Sciences Centre.

The Capital Health District also encompasses seven volunteer Community Health Boards that advise Capital Health through the development of community health plans and encourage public participation in health planning. For more information, visit the Capital Health website.

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