Employment centre promotes mental health and wellness services

    Josette Marchand, Shyloe, and Dana Pettipas are seen here at the Nova Scotia Works-Island Employment Service Centre on Monday. The centre hosted a promotion of mental health and wellness services in the area.

    PORT HAWKESBURY: The Nova Scotia Works-Island Employment Service Centre hosted a promotion for mental health and wellness services in the area on February 5.

    Dana Pettipas, a case manager with Island Employment, said her office organized the event to bring awareness to the issues of mental health in the area and let residents know they have options.

    “We have a mental health charter here in our office that if you have one aspect of your life that’s not working right, there’s no need of trying to look for work if you’re still working towards mental health,” Pettipas said. “We’ve had some training done, most recently was through Peer Support Nova Scotia as a peer support worker.”

    Pettipas described a peer support worker as someone you can call up and talk about issues people may have outside of therapy sessions.

    “There’s really no place to go,” she said. “If you have an issue, you could get placed in a hospital but what we’re seeing is when they’re released, there’s nothing. There is wait times for counselors through mental health and there is so much pressure put on those workers that we want to help bear the load and to make not just our clients but everyone in the area aware that there are other people they can go and talk to that are trained.”

    Pettipas said they are not trained counselors but instead people who have dealt with mental illnesses before. Pettipas said she suffers from generalized anxiety.

    “I am a big advocate for mental health awareness, especially in rural communities where there is no help,” she said.

    People interested in speaking with someone can call 902-625-0001 or drop into the centre on Reeves Street and ask for Pettipas or Josette Marchand. Pettipas said people don’t have to be clients, noting they can come in and receive help such as referrals to different organizations. For instance, she noted The Medicine Shoppe is part of the Head Strong initiative, in which participating pharmacies provide knowledge about access to resources and care for men’s mental health.

    “We can definitely provide them with supports and resources that are out there if they call and ask for myself or Josette,” Pettipas added.