During council’s meeting on July 24, Mayor Rex Matthews said a focus group on mental health was held in the town on July 12 comprised of councillors from Grand Bank and Fortune along with several officials from the health authority.
The goal is to get to a point where there is a good mental health program in place in Grand Bank, Matthews said, with professional staff located in the community that people can talk to without having to wait weeks or, in some cases, months.
There will also be phone numbers available for people who would prefer to talk to someone anonymously.
“It’s going to be a situation where people can get help when they need help,” Matthews said.
“It’s no good if you have a mental health issue that you got to wait three months to see a professional. That can not be.”
At the moment, Matthews said people are finding it difficult navigating their way through the system.
“We’re going to have something here that at least our people will know where to go to – that’s the objective – and professional people to talk to, and good follow-up, good direction,” he said.
Matthews said he has spoken to Eastern Health president and CEO David Diamond about the issue. According to the mayor, Eastern Health has been moving on the matter quickly.
Another focus group is being planned for Aug. 16-18 in the community.
While the mayor never specifically mentioned suicide during his comments, Grand Bank has been rocked by a number of them over the past two years, the most recent occurring just a few weeks ago.
“It’s been a tough year for Grand Bank,” Matthews said.
“It’s a very tough year for our community and more than tough for the people that have to deal with some of these issues.
“We’re all trying to come together to find the best solution that we can.”