By Brian Medel, Yarmouth Bureau
YARMOUTH — Several physicians, including a number of psychiatrists, began practising in southwestern Nova Scotia during the summer and fall of 2011.
Three psychiatrists joined Southwest Health recently, bringing the number of psychiatrists to six in Nova Scotia’s westernmost health district.
All psychiatrist vacancies for the district are filled for the first time in more than 10 years, Southwest Health said in a news release.
Dr. Olufemi Banjo came in August, followed by Dr. Razi Hemani in September and Dr. Lourdes Soto-Moreno (pictured) in October.
"It certainly is good news, and hopefully we’ll hold on to them; there’s certainly the need," said John Roswell, a Digby Clare Mental Health Volunteers co-ordinator, on Sunday.
"It’s terrific if we have the full complement. Hopefully, it will mean that people get to see a psychiatrist and eliminate the lengthy wait process.
"It has been practically impossible to get to see a psychiatrist within six months, and it’s very heartening to hope that wait times may be decreased somewhat because of this."
The common wisdom is that 20 per cent of people will require psychiatric services or will experience a mental illness at some point during their lifetime, said Roswell.
The reporting of mental illness and the number of people seeking help has increased, he said.
Dr. Faten Germanus began working at a family medical practice in Barrington Passage in December. She is not yet accepting patients but an announcement will be made soon when she is ready to take on new patients, according to a news release.
Dr. Navdeep Mangat also began working in Digby General Hospital’s emergency department in December and will provide services at the Digby Well Womens Clinic starting this month.
And southwestern Nova Scotia residents with no family doctor but who have high blood pressure may take advantage of a new cardiovascular program at Yarmouth Regional Hospital, to be based in the facility’s wellness centre.