Seek immediate help when in mental health crisis, Dobson urges Nova Scotians

Adam MacInnis
Published on January 5, 2017

Starr Dobson, president and chief executive officer of the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia.


NEW GLASGOW, N.S. - The president of the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia said she was saddened to read of the deaths of four people in Upper Big Tracadie in what a family member has said may have been a murder-suicide.

Two  relatives told reporters Jan. 4 that Lionel Desmond, one of the people found dead in the home, had suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after serving in the military.

RELATED: Deaths in Upper Big Tracadie leave relatives, community shocked

Police have not speculated on a motive.  

Starr Dobson said the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia has a mandate to help change the way people think about mental illnesses, including post-traumatic stress disorder

The number 1 thing Dobson says is important for people to know is if they feel they are experiencing a mental health crisis they should seek help immediately by either calling 911, going to an emergency department or calling Nova Scotia's mobile mental health crisis line:  1-888-429-8167.

People should educate themselves on what resources are available in their particular are,  Dobson said. The Mental Health Foundation recently held sessions in rural areas across the province to help spread that message.

“The whole reason was to get information into the hands of people in small communities,” she said. “There are people they can ask for help. We are aware of the fact that (people in) rural areas often struggle to get information that they need.”

Dobson said this time of year can be particularly hard for people who suffer from mental illness because they are coming down from the Christmas season and are often facing bills from Christmas. The cold weather and shorter days also play a factor.

“If you feel like you need help, push to get that help,” she advises.

How to get help 

Click here for more resources in Nova Scotia.

New Brunswick mental health crisis line.

Newfoundland and Labrador mental health resources.

Prince Edward Island mental health resources