Everyone who knows me well knows where I am from. To be honest, even if you’ve met me only once it’s likely you also probably know where I’m from because it’s highly unlikely that I didn’t bring it up!
Being from Nova Scotia has always been a point of pride for me and as any east coaster knows, it’s a badge of honour most of us happily share openly with everyone we meet. We shout from the rooftops that we are east coasters, especially those of us that are from Cape Breton! We are proud of our reputation of being friendly, hardworking, and social people who value community and connection.
Ever since moving to Ontario 12 years ago to study social work, I’ve also been the first to correct anyone who wrongly assumes that because I live in Ontario I am an Ontarian. I will always be Nova Scotian first (and more accurately, a Cape Bretoner). I am grateful to carry this identity and the values that come with it.
While wearing the Nova Scotian title is something I do with pride, it’s also something I treat with great respect. I deeply value my community, my loved ones, and the island I call home. I spend as much time as I can there. When I’m not there, I miss the ocean. I miss the music. But most of all, I miss out on the opportunity to be present in the day-to-day lives of the people I love and care about. It’s not easy being far away- missing the good times and not being there to offer a hand in the tough times.
The tough times seem to be a topic of discussion more often than not lately. I hear stories about how hard it is to find a doctor. The worry about the ability to see a therapist when the waitlists are years long. The struggle that comes with an aging population and a healthcare system on the brink of collapse. I worry about the lack of care available for my aging relatives. I’m sad for my friends and family who can’t get a family doctor. I’m frustrated about the lack of quality mental health care and feel helpless about watching this unfolding from Ontario. I want to be there to help.
After years of living away, and years of hearing similar stories of the difficulties of finding timely and accessible mental health care in Nova Scotia, we wanted to find a small way to try and help. As the CEO of a mental health company, a clinician, and someone who accesses mental health care services regularly, I wanted to do what I could to be a part of the solution for better access to mental health care in Nova Scotia. I asked my team if they’d join me in expanding our therapy program to support my fellow Nova Scotians. Thankfully, my team didn’t think twice! They worked hard, sorted out the paperwork to get our clinicians licensed to practice in NS, dug into marketing and started creating relationships with those who can advocate for those needing timely access to care.
So now, here we are. I am pleased to let you know that Shift Collab now has a team of therapists ready to support you, my fellow Nova Scotians, virtually with your mental health care through access to therapy.
I also know that when we support individuals with accessing mental health care, we are also supporting and championing those on the front line in NS who have been doing the hard work for years. We see you. We are here for you and want to join you in the hard work and advocate for a better system. We hope we can start by augmenting the excellent care you provide and partner with you to take a bit of the load off.
This journey feels full circle to me. I am looking forward to being an active participant in changing the dialogue around mental health care in Nova Scotia. If you are interested in learning more, being matched with a therapist, or starting your journey toward mental wellness, we’ve got you.
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