Avert Magazine

N.S. launches new mental health support for volunteer firefighters, ground search and rescue teams

February 15, 2024
By Avert Magazine

Feb. 12, 2024, Nova Scotia – Volunteer firefighters and members of ground search and rescue teams in Nova Scotia can now access new mental health supports – any time, at no cost.

The Nova Scotia Firefighter and Ground Search and Rescue Volunteer Assistance Program gives these first responders and their families access to a range of health and wellness services, including personal and family counselling, financial advice, stress management and nutrition advice, and more.

It includes counselling from mental health clinicians, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week in person, by phone or online.

The service is part of a two-year pilot program with Telus Health that will help the government better understand the mental health needs of volunteer firefighters and ground search and rescue volunteers. Nova Scotia is investing $75,000 over two years for the program, which was announced in November.


Volunteer first responders can also access PSPNET, a free online service that provides mental health and well-being support to public safety personnel experiencing challenges related to anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress.

The national suicide prevention line is 9-8-8. The mental health crisis line is 1-888-429-8167 (toll-free). It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week for anyone experiencing a mental health crisis or people concerned about someone else.

For non-crisis support, people needing treatment and care for mental health and addictions can contact the mental health and addictions intake service at 1-855-922-1122 to be matched with appropriate services.

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