Nfld. & Labrador

Mental health, addictions clinics opening on Burin Peninsula

Eastern Health will open a drop-in service on Wednesday in Grand Bank and another walk-in clinic in Marystown will be offered on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Services requested by residents after a cluster of suicides in the region

Natalie Randell and Valerie Peach are sisters who lost husbands to suicide and called for improved mental health services on the Burin Peninsula. (Sherry Vivian/CBC)

Eastern Health is following through on a commitment to improve mental health and addictions services on the Burin Peninsula, following a cluster of suicides there.

The health authority says a drop-in service will open in Grand Bank on Wednesday, offering access to counselling and a registered nurse and social worker.

The service will operate each Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. out of the Dr. S. Buckley Health Centre, and by appointment during other days.

Another walk-in clinic will operate on Mondays and Tuesdays in Marystown, at the community services building. Clients will be offered counselling and other services.

Two sisters who told their story to CBC News after they both lost their husbands to suicide, just weeks apart, highlighted the need for improved mental health services in the area.

The deaths were among six suicides in Grand Bank within a 14-month period.

Valerie Peach and Natalie Randell say they have supported others in their region who have been affected by suicide. Randell is part of a newly-formed community coalition that will work with Eastern Health. (Sherry Vivian/CBC)

Valerie Peach and Natalie Randell said it is time for people to talk more openly about depression and anxiety and to use available services, which they felt needed to be improved.

The health authority said it is responding to what residents identified in a May survey as to what is needed in the region.

"The recent number of suicides in the Grand Bank area has also highlighted the need for additional services and support," the health authority said in a news release on Tuesday.

Eastern Health said it is also going to offer suicide intervention training to healthcare professionals and community groups on the Burin Peninsula in December, February and March.

It has also partnered with town councils and community agencies to form a coalition to promote mental health and wellness.

"The new coalition will foster a healthy community by promoting mental health and addictions awareness, reducing stigma and improving quality of life," said Kim Grant, Regional Director of Mental Health and Addictions.