Desmond inquiry: official says review needed on how N.S. serves African Nova Scotians

PORT HAWKESBURY, N.S. — A Nova Scotia government official says the province’s Health Department could do a better job serving African Nova Scotians.

Desmond inquiry: official says review needed on how N.S. serves African Nova Scotians
© Provided by The Canadian Press

Wayne Hamilton, executive director of African Nova Scotian Affairs, made the suggestion during his testimony before an inquiry investigating why former soldier Lionel Desmond killed his family and himself — all of whom were Black — in early 2017.

Hamilton says the department should follow the approaches taken by the province’s Education Department and by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia, both of which have launched independent reviews of how they serve people of African descent.

Hamilton says the Health Department should also be subjected to an independent review because it is falling behind when it comes to serving racialized groups.

The provincial fatality inquiry heard Monday that Desmond, who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, faced systemic racism when he reached out to health-care professionals as his mental health declined in late 2016.

The inquiry was also told there were no culturally specific mental health programs available to African Nova Scotians at the time — and that remains the case today.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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