Coronavirus: Halifax’s IWK now offering virtual mental health care

The IWK Children's Hospital in Halifax, N.S., is seen on July 21, 2018. File/Global News

The IWK Health Centre in Halifax has launched a new initiative that is meant to provide children and families with access to virtual health care during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and beyond.

In a press release, the IWK said the program is the result of $300,000 in donations from Eleanor McCain, the RBC Foundation and CIBC.

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The donations will help provide the equipment and technology required to connect clinicians and patients by phone or videoconference.

The newly created loan program will allow staff and families who want to use the mental health and addictions program but don’t have the resources required to do so, such as computers, phones or laptops.

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One in five children has a current mental health problem that is need of intervention, the IWK said, but only one in three accessed help before the COVID-19 pandemic changed the day-to-day life of many people.

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The IWK says its mental health and addictions program is anticipating an “unprecedented increase” in need for their services during and after the pandemic.

“The sudden transition to social distancing that has moved children and youth away from normal routines and structured environments, such as school and community groups, can be devastating for many vulnerable populations,” says Maureen Brennan, the IWK’s director of mental health and addictions.

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The IWK mental health and addictions intake service can be contacted toll-free at 1-855-922-1122.

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If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health or addictions crisis, you’re urged to call the Mental Health Mobile Crisis Team at 902-429-8167 or 1-888-429-8167.

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