A letter to the editor published in today's edition of The Chronicle Herald:
I am disappointed in the comments in your newspaper of Stephen Ayer, executive director of the Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia, that recommendations from the Hyde report will not be instituted quickly and suggesting a lack of action on my part.
Judge Anne Derrick’s first recommendation in her report was that the provincial government needs to develop a mental health strategy. Before her report was even written, I had appointed a mental health strategy advisory committee representing a board spectrum of people with first hand-knowledge of the justice system, schizophrenia and other mental illnesses and disorders. Work on the strategy is well underway and we will provide for consultation in the New Year. The president of the Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia is on this committee.
Additionally, I have visited Mental Health Services at Capital Health and at the IWK Health Centre to discuss what can be done to improve wait times and program outcomes, and steps are being taken on these fronts. Our government’s first budget included funding for an expanded Mobile Crisis Service here in the Capital District.
Is there more to do? Absolutely, and I am committed to seeing that it is done. Mental health services are an integral part of Better Care Sooner, our plan to implement the Ross report. Judge Derrick’s extensive recommendations offer an opportunity for Nova Scotia’s justice and health care systems to make real and positive changes — and we will.
Maureen MacDonald, Minister of Health