Mental Health

If you are looking for mental health services for your child, youth, or yourself, you may have different options, depending on your situation. 

SeaStar does not directly offer therapy. However, our child and youth advocates help families to understand and navigate their options for accessing mental health services. Many of these options are listed below.

Every child and youth copes differently after a difficult experience. Therapy can be helpful if difficult symptoms and emotions become hard to handle. Some children and youth may not need or want therapy right away, but might at a later time.

If you are concerned about how you or your child are coping after a difficult experience, reach out for help. Your child and youth advocate can help you explore different options that may be available to you. Many of these are listed below.

One of the most important things for your child is that they are believed and supported by a safe adult that they trust. As a caregiver, you are in a unique position to support your child. Regardless of whether or not your child is receiving therapy, many caregivers find it helpful to learn more about trauma, normal emotional reactions, and practical things that they can do to support their child. Check out our Workshops page and Resources menu for more information.

This list of resources is presented for information only, and is not a complete list of every mental health resource available. Resources may have different eligibility criteria, costs, or wait times. While every effort has been made to ensure this information is accurate and up to date, please be aware that information may have changed.

If you have been a victim of a violent crime committed in Nova Scotia, the Criminal Injuries Counselling Program may be able to pay for professional counselling services to help you deal with trauma resulting from the crime. If you or a child in your care are eligible, you must submit an application to the Nova Scotia Department of Justice Provincial Victim Services. A decision will usually be made once the investigation of the crime is complete and program staff have received the police report.

Cost: Free up to a maximum amount, if you are eligible and approved.

Visit: Department of Justice Victim Services Programs

Some employers offer private health insurance benefits for employees and their families. Some families purchase private health insurance plans directly. 

Many private health insurance plans cover some or all of the cost for counselling by a registered social worker or psychologist. Every insurance plan is different. Some may require a referral from your health care provider.

If your family has private health insurance coverage, you can contact your plan administrator to find out what is covered and how to access services.

Cost: Free or partial cost, if your family has insurance coverage and services are covered.

Some employers offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for employees and their families. These programs often offer access to short-term counselling, free of charge.

If your family has EAP coverage, you can contact your EAP administrator to find out what is covered and how to access services.

Cost: Often free, if your family has EAP coverage.

The IWK Health Centre’s Suspected Trauma and Abuse Response Team (START) offers therapy for children and youth who have experienced trauma or abuse. You can call START yourself to make a referral.

Cost: Free

Call: (902) 470-8222

The IWK Health Centre offers mental health and addictions services for children and youth under the age of 19. IWK Central Referral can help you get an appointment for mental health and addictions services. You can call Central Referral yourself, or your family doctor or other health care or education professional can make a referral on your behalf.

Cost: Free

Visit: IWK Mental Health & Addictions: How do I get service?
Call: (902) 464-4110
Toll free: 1 (855) 635-4110

Therapists who work in private practice are self-employed and are paid directly by their clients, through private health insurance, or an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). The cost of therapy appointments varies, and some private practitioners may offer fees on a sliding scale based on what a family can pay. Therapists working in private practice may have different types of training, licensing, and experience.

A list of some private practitioners in Nova Scotia can be found here.

This external link is provided for information purposes only, and is not intended as an endorsement of the clinicians listed, or their level of skill or experience.

Cost: Varies

Need help right now?

For emergencies

If you or someone else are in immediate danger, or are a danger to themselves or others:

Call: 911
Go to: the IWK Health Centre Emergency Department or the emergency department closest to you.

Talk to someone now

The Nova Scotia Mental Health Crisis Telephone Line provides crisis intervention for children, youth and adults experiencing a mental health crisis or mental distress.

The service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to support callers who present with suicidal thoughts, self-harming thoughts or behaviors, overwhelming anxiety, difficulty coping with distress, psychotic or distorted thinking, depression, substance use difficulties or any other self-identified mental health concerns. The crisis line also supports families, friends, community agencies and others to manage mental health crisis through education, outreach and consultation.

The Mental Health Mobile Crisis Team is a partnership of the Nova Scotia Health Authority, the Halifax Regional Police, and the IWK Health Centre.

Cost: Free

Call: (902) 429-8167
Toll free
1 (888) 429-8167

Kids Help Phone offers 24/7 support across Canada, including professional counselling, information and referrals and volunteer-led, text-based support to young people in both English and French.

Cost: Free

Visit: Kids Help Phone
Call: 1-800-668-6868
Online Chat: Kids Help Phone: Live Chat
Text: CONNECT to 686868

This text support line is operated by Dalhousie Student Union, and offers support to those impacted by sexualized violence, their loved ones, friends, or classmates, as well as resource navigation for both on-and off-campus supports. You are never required to provide any identifying information to receive support.

Messages will be responded to between the hours of 9am-4pm Monday to Friday, with messages left on evenings, weekends, and holidays responded to the next business day.

Cost: Free

Text: (902) 400-5250
Visit: Survivor Support