N.S. announces mental health supports for volunteer first responders

Volunteer firefighters and volunteer search and rescue team members can now access free mental health and wellness supports, according to the provincial government.

“Volunteer first responders play such an important role in communities across Nova Scotia where, in many cases, they are the first to respond in an emergency,” said Brian Comer, Minister of Addictions and Mental Health. “This new program is a way to support our volunteer firefighters and ground search and rescue teams – to help the helpers who do so much for us.”

Government said the Nova Scotia Firefighter and Ground Search and Rescue Volunteer Assistance Program gives those first responders and their families access to personal and family counselling, financial advice, stress management and nutrition advice.

The province is spending $75,000 over two years for the program. It said there are about 6,000 volunteer firefighters and 1,200 ground search and rescue volunteers in Nova Scotia.

The program includes a partnership with Telus Health offering counselling from mental health clinicians, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week in person, by phone or online.

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