Fred & Elizabeth Fountain Give Extraordinary Gift

Thursday, April 4, 2013 - 11:43am

by Maureen Wheller

Extraordinary Gift to Support New Mental Health Project

Halifax, N.S. - In memory of their son Alex, Fred and Elizabeth Fountain gave a $1,050,000 gift to the new Stay Connected Mental Health Project, through the QEII Foundation. The gift was announced today, in a room full of community-based mental health and addictions partners, advocates and Alex’s friends and family members.

The vision of the five-year Stay Connected Mental Health Project is to culturally shift how youth and their families, transition from pediatric to adult-based services, at the IWK Health Centre and Capital Health, respectively. The project will also build stronger partnerships with local universities that support the mental health and addiction care needs of students.

Untreated and under-treated mental health and addiction problems can contribute to high-risk behaviours such as suicide, substance abuse and being bullied. Dr. David Pilon, specialty mental health services program leader in the Capital Health Addictions and Mental Health Program, recognizes the critical importance of focussing on treatment and responsive support programs specifically during the transitional years from pediatric to young adult based services. 

“The terrain of the teen years is challenging, at best, for youth and their families,” said Dr. Pilon. “Young adults, specifically those aged 15-24, are at the highest risk of developing a mental illness. The goal of this project is to enhance pathways to care for this group so they are better connected to the support they need.”

The goal is to raise awareness of the current support available and to change the health care system’s approach to transitioning young adults and their families, to mental health and addictions care.

“Through enhanced mental health literacy, strategic planning and collaborative approaches across all health care settings, we can overcome the barriers of stigma, limited resources and system issues,” said Dr. Pilon. “The Stay Connected Mental Health Project will replace these barriers with better pathways to care.”

Mental Health Project Backgrounder . . .