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Beth's Story

I’m 43 from Cape Breton. I really like meeting new friends. I like having freedom. I like getting pictures taken.

Meet Beth MacLean. She lives on Emerald Hall at the Nova Scotia Hospital. Emerald is an acute care in-patient unit that serves clients who live with intellectual disabilities as well as complex mental and/or physical health issues.

Every Thursday morning you’ll find Beth cheerfully pouring coffee and serving snacks to other residents of the Nova Scotia Hospital and individuals who reside in the community.

‘Coffee Hour’ is funded by a Mental Health Foundation Capital District Mental Health Program Grant. It provides participants with a safe, home-like environment where they can enjoy complimentary coffee or tea and snacks while socializing with peers. For Beth, and some other clients of Emerald Hall, it also serves as a work-readiness program.

“I learned how to serve the coffee.  I learned how to clean up,” says Beth. But there’s no disputing what she likes best… “Serving people and getting paid!”

Melissa Baker is an Occupational Therapist who has worked with Beth for seven years. She understands the true importance of a seemingly simple cup of coffee.

“Beth is a dedicated, enthusiastic participant in ‘Coffee Hour’.

This program, and other funded grants, provide Beth and other clients with opportunities to practice the skills of living in natural environments. They allow Beth to develop and enhance her fine motor skills, her thinking skills, and her social skills.  ‘Coffee Hour’ and recreational outings motivate Beth- they give her something to look forward to, while also providing structure and routine in her life. 

Beth’s confidence, attention, and ability to complete tasks thoroughly have improved tremendously over the years.  Without the continued generous support of the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia, we simply would be unable to fund such initiatives.”

Thank you. Your continued support makes stories like this possible.


Story photography generously provided by Lori Buhlman.
Learn more about Lori's work