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Community Mental Health and Addictions

Community Mental Health and Addictions
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Three Community Mental Health and Addictions (CMHA) clinics, located in Halifax, Sackville and Dartmouth, help kids and teens up to 19 years of age, and their families, who are experiencing all types of mental health and addictions difficulties. 

The IWK’s Central Referral service will help determine whether the CMHA clinics offer the right support for you or your family member or friend.

Choice Appointment (First Appointment)

The first step after contacting the Central Referral service will most often be a Choice appointment at the CMHA clinic of your choice. The aim of this first appointment is to discuss the mental health and addictions difficulty, provide information so that the child or youth and family can make a choice about what to do next and explain the variety of options for next steps. 

The clinician will ask questions like: 

  1. “What concerns you?”
  2. “What brought you here?”
  3. “Why do you think you need mental health support?” 

They will also ask questions about life at home and at school, and about social activities. 

Next Steps

The best next step, as chosen by the child or youth and their family (with help from the clinician) may be to return to a CMHA clinic for a partnership appointment or seek support from a service in the community. 

If the next step is a partnership appointment, a clinician (most often a psychologist or social worker) will meet with the child or youth and their family to determine the best ways to meet their treatment goals.


Treatment may include group or individual therapy, in-home support provided by youth care workers, medication or a combination of those.

It is possible that treatment from the IWK Mental Health and Addictions (MHA) Program may not be needed. A community resource may be most helpful. The CMHA clinician will help the child or youth and their family determine the best community based option.

To find out if we can help you, call the IWK’s Central Referral service at 902.464.4110 or toll free at 1.888.470.5888 and asked to be connected to Central Referral.