It’s a time for progress and hope for mental health care in our province, as an exciting transformation will soon begin for the QEII’s Psychiatric Emergency Care Suites, located at the Halifax Infirmary.


Though this essential mental health resource was once considered state-of-the-art, the facilities have worn down after years of heavy use. Thanks to the generous contributions of hundreds of QEII Foundation donors, including an inspiring matching gift of $25,000 from the Owens family, more than $450,000 has been raised to completely transform the current care area. 


“Since the fundraising campaign to renovate the Care Suites kicked off, and especially since we reached our goal, there’s been palpable excitement amongst our QEII care teams,” says Matt White, interim director of Mental Health and Addictions Program for Central Zone.


“The idea that we could work with the QEII Foundation to help provide a more welcoming, safe space for our patients is something that I think everyone takes so much pride in.”


The upcoming renovation to the QEII’s Psychiatric Emergency Care Suites will completely transform the current mental health treatment area — which includes three treatment rooms and an isolation area.


Some of the planned features include weighted furniture and reinforced walls, which will greatly enhance patient safety, comfort and dignity. Dimmable lighting, soothing colours and a quiet atmosphere will also encourage a comforting environment where patients facing a mental health crisis can focus on healing.


Matt explains that this renovation means so much more than just a simple refresh to the space — it will go a long way in helping people be more comfortable during a time when they need it most.


“The newly designed suites have been planned through a lens of healing, comfort and safety,” Matt explains. “This warmer care environment will help patients be more comfortable and receptive to receiving the mental health care they need.”


The QEII Psychiatric Emergency Care Suites treats between 200 to 250 patients a month, addressing any and all mental health concerns, and acts as an entry point for many people into Nova Scotia’s mental healthcare system.


With the suites accommodating adult patients from all backgrounds, a welcoming, safe and accommodating space is incredibly important to give those seeking mental health treatment the best experience possible on what could be one of the worst days of their lives.


Matt also explains that having a modern mental health care treatment area, like the soon-to-be renovated Care Suites, helps destigmatize mental illness within our communities, which is incredibly important for those who may be hesitant or uncomfortable seeking care.


“When someone comes in for mental health treatment and sees things run-down, it can be very demoralizing and stigmatizing. These renovations are currently going to help that.”


With funds currently raised, the renovation process is now underway. Contracts are signed and materials have been ordered, with physical construction scheduled to begin in mid-fall. Professional artist renderings have also been drafted, which helps bring the soon-to-be-completed-space to life a little early.


Though Matt says the renderings look amazing, they can’t possibly demonstrate the true impact that the actual renovation will have in the lives of patients facing a mental health crisis.


“The renderings are so incredible, but the impact as a drawing on a page is understated,” Matt explains. “What people don’t yet see is the security that those newly renovated rooms will provide for patients, and the real comfort and care they’ll receive in a moment of urgency.”


Matt and the healthcare teams involved extend their gratitude to the entire donor community who rallied to make this fundraising campaign such an amazing success.


“We have such overwhelming thanks for those that stepped forward and helped make this project a reality for our patients,” Matt expresses.


Natalie Owens, family representative for the Owens family, is also incredibly moved by the outpouring of community support for the QEII Psychiatric Emergency Care Suites. Together with the Owens family, hundreds of donors rallied behind their family’s $25,000 matching gift, bringing the $450,000 project to the finish line.


“On behalf of our family, we are ecstatic that our goal to gift match has been well exceeded with so many QEII Foundation donors joining in to help this incredible cause,” Natalie says.


“With new construction about to begin on the QEII’s Psychiatric Emergency Care Suites, we are so grateful to our community for pushing this impactful cause forward to provide a comforting environment for those in need of professional care.”

Need help now?
The Provincial Mental Health and Addictions crisis line is always available at 1 888 429 8167.