Questions & Answers (FAQ)

What can I expect at the first appointment?

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Since October 2013, we have been using a Choice And Partnership Approach (CAPA) which is a new way of connecting you with the services you need. You can read more about CAPA online. Here is what you can expect:

When you contact Mental Health and Addictions, you will be invited to book an appointment with us at a date, time, and location that is convenient for you. In most cases, you will be given a "Choice" appointment with one of our clinicians.

At the Choice appointment, the Choice clinician will want to hear from you what you are struggling with and what your hopes are. You will meet with this clinician for approximately one hour and at the end you will create a plan together about what happens next and what help you might want. The Choice clinician will share ideas about what might be helpful – things that you can do, other agencies that might help, and what services and interventions we can provide.

Sometimes

 the Choice Appointment is enough to get you back on track and you won't want another appointment;

 we decide together that you need a different agency or service and we can help make this contact; or

 we decide together that coming back to our service is the best idea for you.

If you do decide to come back, we will think with you about the goals you want and choose a clinician who has the right skills to meet these goals. You should leave your Choice Appointment with your next appointment booked with that clinician.

What kinds of problems does A&MH deal with?

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We help kids and adults who are experiencing a wide range of mental health and addiction challenges. Support is also available for people who are affected by another’s substance use or gambling. If you are not sure if Mental Health and Addictions is the right place for you to get help, you can still call to get guidance about other community resources and where else you might go that would be more suitable.

Do I need a doctor’s referral for an appointment?

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A doctor’s referral is not needed, but you can have your doctor make one for you if you prefer. You can refer yourself or your child. Children can also be referred by others (e.g. school staff) if parents give them written permission.

How can I get an appointment for myself or my child?

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There are a few options:

Call the main intake 543-5400. One of the clerical staff will get some basic information (address, health care #, etc). You will then speak with an intake worker who will get more detailed information about your concerns. If we can help with your problem, the intake worker will let you know when you will have an appointment with one of the clinicians. If your problem is considered more urgent, a crisis worker may see you.

You could also print and fill out a referral form (PDF), then mail it or drop it off at the Bridgewater clinic.

You can have your doctor send in a referral for you or your child. You can also have another person send in a referral for your child if you have given them written permission to do that (ask them to send along a copy of the permission form to us with the referral). However, self-referrals are preferred.

Students at all middle and high schools in Luenburg and Queens counties can refer themselves to school-based services.

Your family doctor can make a referral for you to see a psychiatrist. Or one of the clinicians at the clinic can make a referral to a psychiatrist if he or she feel that is necessary. However, you can’t refer yourself directly to a psychiatrist.

How long is the wait for an appointment?

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The wait depends on the kind of problem you are having. If it is an emergency, ( i.e. there is an imminent risk you will harm yourself or someone else) you will be seen by a crisis worker that day. Wait time information for non-urgent services is available at http://waittimes.novascotia.ca.  Typical waitmes are 3-6 weeks.  However, waits for some specialty services can be considerably longer (for example, the wait to have a school-aged child assessed for autism can be a year or longer).

Where else could I look for help?

There are other places you can get help for mental health or addiction issues. There are a variety of professionals in private practice who will see you for a fee. You can check the websites of professional organizations for a list of clinicians:

You can also check in to see if you have an employee Assitance program (EAP) offered by your place of work.

There are many other potential sources of help in our community:

If you have a question about your medications, you can ask your pharmacist. You could also call "811"; they may be able to help you with some questions.

In addition, the provincial “211” service has a comprehensive list of information, supports and services.

What kind of help is there for adults?

Services for adults include: information sessions about mental health and addiction topics, individual counseling, group treatments, Community Support Service, psychiatric consultation, admission to South Shore Regional Hospital’s Inpatient Mental Health Unit or the Withdrawal Management program (Detox) at Fisherman's Memorial Hospital.

What kind of help is there for kids?

Services for kids and teens include: individual, family and group treatments and a Child Community Support Service. We have specialty services for children with autism spectrum disorders, including Early Intensive Behavior Intervention (EIBI) for preschoolers with an ASD. There are school-based services for teens in middle and high schools. Families can also access telephone-based services for the “Strongest Families” program.

Where can I be seen?

The main clinic is at the Dawson Center in Bridgewater. Some services are also available in Chester, New Germany, Caledonia, Luneburg and Liverpool. Community Support staff offer supports at home, school, daycares etc. Early Intensive Behavior Intervention (EIBI) is a home and community-based service.

Who works at A&MH?

Our staff includes: social workers, psychiatrists, occupational therapists, psychologists, autism support workers, community support workers, nurses, health counselors, prevention and health promotion staff and clerical staff.

Where can I find good information about addiction and mental health topics?

There will be another "Being Well" series of information sessions, starting in January 2014. we We also have regular presentations on topics related to Autism Spectrum Disorders.

We offer a free 2-day “Introduction To Addiction: Enhancing Capacity” workshop for professionals to learn more about substance misuse & addiction. There are two fall dates scheduled:

*November 13-14th, 9 am to 4 pm, both days at Fishermen's Memorial Hospital, Lunenburg (space remaining)

*November 25-26th, 9 am to 4 pm, both days at the old Milton Centennial School, Milton, just outside Liverpool (space remaining)

If you would like any further information on the ITA workshops, or would like to register, please contact Sadie C. Watson, Phone: 527-5083, Fax: 543-0832, or email swatson@ssdha.nshealth.ca  

If you would like to view the monthly Community Links Bulletin please click on this link Community Links Bulletin

Search the A-Z List of Topics to find brief information on a topic, and links to other good information

What are the clinic hours?

The main clinic is open 8:30-4:30. Some staff may offer appointments earlier or later. Some group treatments and information sessions are available in the evenings. The hours at the satellite clinics are variable, depending on who is working at that clinic on a particular day. There is no receptionist at the satellite clinics, so please call the main clinic for information (543-5400).

Are there any services that are not offered at A&MH?

We do not do assessments for court purposes (e.g., custody and access evaluations). We do not do psychoeducational assessments for school-aged children. Marital therapy is not provided.

What crisis or emergency services are available?

Mental health emergencies are like other health emergencies: if there is imminent risk someone will harm themselves or others, call 911, or go to the nearest emergency department.

In a crisis, you may call the provincial crisis line, 1-888-429-8167, which is staffed by licensed clinicians with a backgrounds in social work, nursing or occupational therapy. The clinicians assess each call for imminent risk and safety before helping the caller cope with their issue. The crisis line is available 24 hours a day. (Provincial crisis line press release)