Parrsboro youth health centre expanding services

Andrew Wagstaff
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Co-ordinator on hand in community, to set up in school

Youth health centre co-ordinator Brittany Morehouse (left) is available in Parrsboro two days per week to consult with young people on various health issues, and will be based out of Parrsboro Regional High School when classes resume in September. She is also working in and around the community this summer, in partnership with Maggie's Place youth co-ordinator Amanda Brown on a number of initiatives.

PARRSBORO - The youth health centre in Parrsboro is making its resources more available to the community's young people through increased hours and the presence of co-ordinator Brittany Morehouse.

Morehouse, a registered nurse working for Public Health Services, is now in the community two days per week to offer a variety of services to local youth. During the summer months she has been present at various locations and events, but come September will locate her base of operations at the youth health centre in Parrsboro Regional High School.

"Youth health centres are basically a collaboration between the health authority and the school board," she explained. "We kind of work together to provide anything from health services to a youth centre environment. We do a lot of health promotion work."

The youth health centre offers counseling in areas such as drug use, decision-making, sexually transmitted infections, abstinence, sexual orientation, family issues, depression, bereavement and suicide. It also provides services such as pregnancy tests, dispensing of emergency contraceptives, pap tests, STI testing and general check-ups, all in a safe and confidential manner.

Youth health centres are located in various communities in Nova Scotia, and for several years have been in operating in Cumberland County in Amherst, Springhill and Oxford. There has been a desire for some time to branch out that service to Parrsboro and Pugwash, according to Morehouse, who said the SPAR Community Health Board was a partner in making it possible.

Parrsboro set up its own youth heath centre two years ago, and has had nurse practitioner Debbie Blois visit the school for a half day every week to offer her services to the students. That service will continue in co-ordination with Morehouse and her efforts.

Students and any other members of the local youth community can access the services, which range from general consultations to providing links to external resources such as mental health services or Addictions Services.

Organizations: Public Health Services, Parrsboro Regional High School, SPAR Community Health Board Addictions Services

Geographic location: Parrsboro, Nova Scotia, Cumberland County Amherst Oxford Pugwash

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