Canadian Firefighter Magazine

N.S. launches new mental health support for volunteer firefighters, ground search and rescue teams

By Government of Nova Scotia   

Headlines News Health and Wellness mental health

Feb. 12, 2024, Nova Scotia – Volunteer firefighters and members of ground search and rescue teams in Nova Scotia can now access new mental health supports – any time, at no cost.

The Nova Scotia Firefighter and Ground Search and Rescue Volunteer Assistance Program gives these first responders and their families access to a range of health and wellness services, including personal and family counselling, financial advice, stress management and nutrition advice, and more.

It includes counselling from mental health clinicians, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week in person, by phone or online.

The service is part of a two-year pilot program with Telus Health that will help the government better understand the mental health needs of volunteer firefighters and ground search and rescue volunteers. Nova Scotia is investing $75,000 over two years for the program, which was announced in November.

Volunteer first responders can also access PSPNET, a free online service that provides mental health and well-being support to public safety personnel experiencing challenges related to anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress.

The national suicide prevention line is 9-8-8. The mental health crisis line is 1-888-429-8167 (toll-free). It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week for anyone experiencing a mental health crisis or people concerned about someone else.

For non-crisis support, people needing treatment and care for mental health and addictions can contact the mental health and addictions intake service at 1-855-922-1122 to be matched with appropriate services.

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