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New service offers mental health, addictions peer support in Port Hawkesbury

Ample research suggests that mental health is a growing concern in Canada, so employers can expect more employees will experience a mental health issue. In addition, changes in occupational health and safety legislation are influencing the psychological health and safety conversation.
A new program is operating in the Port Hawkesbury area to assist people dealing with addictions and mental health issues. - 123RF Stock Photo
PORT HAWKESBURY, N.S. —

A new program is operating in the Port Hawkesbury area to assist people dealing with addictions and mental health issues.

Fresh Start Peer Support Society recently started operating out of 307 Granville St. in Port Hawkesbury.

“It’s a drug-free program … somebody can just walk in the door, have a coffee, and talk about their situation and how we can direct them to services, for whatever their situation may be,” said CEO Michael George.

It provides information on third party programs, one-on-one peer support, as well as support for addictions, and mental health, anger management and group meetings. He noted that there aren’t many other drop-in options for people looking for assistance in the area.

The location is drug-free, he stressed.

George said the society’s space has two purposes — one is as an office and classroom space and a café that can offer something to eat at no cost to those who are hungry.

“It’s like a stepping stone for you to build a foundation to put your ladder on,” George said.

He noted that, should someone require medical services, for example, they can help direct them to assistance. The society is currently working to shore up connections with other service providers.

They are also hoping to be able to assist people who may find themselves in need of emergency shelter. They would also have access to a shower.

“There’s people here living in tents in the woods and they’re addicted to opioids,” George said. “A person can come in and have a shower and feel fresh about themselves and talk about their situation a bit more and we can give them some peer support.”

George noted he endured his own time living on the street and has since undergone training to provide peer support. Eventually, the society hopes to purchase the building where the service is located and renovate it.

For more information, call 902-738-2177 or email [email protected]

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