Mental Health Day Treatment Program
Mental Health

The Mental Health Day Treatment Program is a full-time, six week intensive group psychotherapy program. The program is for individuals with mental illness who also have long-standing problems relating with others and regulating emotions.

It is a partial hospitalization program. This means it is a specialty program that offers comprehensive treatment to targeted populations without requiring a hospital bed for overnight stay for an ongoing period. Patients live at home and attend the program daily.

Please note: Arrangements can be made for patients from outside the area to stay at Point Pleasant Lodge. This is a privately owned and operated, not-for-profit specialty hotel for people undertaking medical travel in the Halifax area. It is within walking distance of the program. There is a process to have accommodation costs covered by the Department of Health and Wellness during the six week treatment process. The Case Coordinator will discuss this when arranging treatment.

The program staff is made up of a group of health care professionals including psychiatry, psychology, social work, occupational therapy, recreational therapy, and nursing. 

During the program, staff will work with you and your referring doctor or clinician, to arrange follow-up treatment and care. 

Location, hours and contact information

Abbie J. Lane Memorial Building, Room 3118
5909 Veteran’s Memorial Lane
Halifax, NS  B3H 2E2
Tel:   902-473-2500
Fax:   902-473-7126

Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Marie Kavanaugh—Program Coordinator
Tel:  902-473-2503

How do I get an appointment?

A referral from a mental health clinician within Nova Scotia Health Authority or a psychiatrist is required. 

How do I prepare for my first appointment?

You will complete an initial assessment to see if the program is a good fit for your needs at this time. Your treatment goals will be identified.

What questions should I ask?

  • How many people are in the Mental Health Day Treatment Program? 
    There are typically 14-17 people in the program at any given time.
  • Do I go through the program with the same group of people?
    The Mental Health Day Treatment Program operates on a continuous feed schedule. Each week, two or three new people will join the program and two or three people will be finishing the program. 
  • What is mental health day treatment and how is it different from other treatment I have received? 
    Our program has an intensive focus on emotion. We look at behavior, feeling, and emotion and how they may relate to your earlier life experiences. The program includes a variety of different therapy approaches delivered in a group setting. The group setting works well to address psychological needs and speed recovery. 
  • What is a case coordinator and what do they do?
    The case coordinator is your primary therapist while you are in the program. He or she will work with you to determine your individual program goals and will follow you through the program. 
  • Will I see my regular psychiatrist or my regular mental health clinician during the program?
    No. This is a full time treatment program. During your six weeks in the program your entire care will be provided by the program staff and psychiatrist. 
  • What if I need medication during the program?
    You will typically remain on your regular medication throughout the program unless changes are indicated. Your medication will be managed by the program psychiatrist if necessary. 
  • What should I bring to the Mental Health Day Treatment Program?
    You should bring clothes and foot wear suitable for physical activity, a binder, and a pen or pencil. You may also like to have your own coffee mug. Lockers are available and you are welcome to bring a lock to secure your belongings. 
  • Am I required to participate in physical activity if I am not physically fit? 
    Yes. No experience required. The physical activity is designed for people of all fitness levels. 
  • What happens after the Mental Health Day Treatment Program? 
    Follow-up will be arranged during the program based upon your individual needs.

What happens after my first visit?

If the program is the right fit, you will be assigned preparation work and invited to return once this work is completed. Upon review with your case coordinator, an admission date will be set. 

  • Admission process: The Mental Health Day Treatment program (MHDTP) works with other mental health providers to facilitate admission to the program when it is felt to be required and appropriate. 
  • Referral: A completed referral form from a mental health clinician is required.  A mental health clinician includes those on the Nova Scotia Health Authority team providing treatment to the patient or a psychiatrist from any Atlantic province providing psychiatric care to the patient. 
  • Waitlist: Once the referral form is completed an intake committee will meet to look at the suitability and timing of the program for the patient’s situation. If the patient is determined to be ready for the program they will be placed on a waitlist. Inpatient referrals are admitted based on a priority response and the wait time for outpatients can sometimes be several months. It is important to note that patients on the waitlist have not been formally admitted to the program and remain under the care of the referring clinician.
  • Preparation: Before entering the program, the patient will meet with their case coordinator to conduct a more in depth assessment. During this meeting the case coordinator will determine what preparation work needs to be done. Depending upon the individual, preparation work can take anywhere from a week to a few months. Once the preparation work is done it will be reviewed and the person will be considered for entry into the program. 
  • Trial Period: Once the patient has entered the program they become an active patient of the MHDTP. The participant will begin with a two-week trial period to ensure that they are able to endure the emotional rigors of the program. During the program, the MHDTP staff will continue to work with the referring mental health clinician to arrange follow-up treatment and care, and to ensure the patient continues on their journey to wellness in mental health.