Kentville's youth sexual health centre Red Door has new location

Shannon MacDonald
Published on May 9, 2014

Red Door staff members Elizabeth McLean, Tara Newcombe, Dr. Drea Mossman and the unofficial Red Door team member, Hero, in front of the centre’s new home, 35 Webster Street, Suite 202, in Kentville. The centre recently moved locations. – Shannon MacDonald,

©Shannon MacDonald

The Red Door has a new home.

The youth sexual health centre is now located at 35 Webster Street, suite 202, in Scotia Center, across the street from Tim Horton’s and the TD Bank.

The site is a completely confidential location where staff can provide a wide-range of sexual health services, including clinical services, sexual health counselling and referrals for purposes of mental health to young people.

Run by two physicians and nurses, with an addictions specialist from Annapolis Valley Health Mental Health and Addictions Services providing brief interventions, the Red Door also provides subsidized birth control, the morning after pill and STD screening and treatment.

“We take pride in being a safe and welcoming space for diverse gender identities and sexual orientations. We are a good first contact of youth who may be questioning their identity, and will provide confidential and non-judgmental support wherever they are in their discovery process,” said Dr. Andrea Mossman, one of the physicians.

The Red Door also has an unofficial four-legged team member, Hero, a two-year-old golden retriever who comes twice a month with Mossman. The staff has found that Hero is a great ice-breaker and companion for the youths who come in to the centre.

In the past year, because of the Rehtaeh Parsons case, there has been a lot of focus on sexual violence among youths. That prompted the creation of the Sexual Violence Strategy, which looks at ways the community can respond to sexualized violence, and a two-year sexual violence project co-ordinator position. Chrysalis House is also involved in the project.

Angela Johnston, the project co-ordinator, says many people find the problem of sexual violence “overwhelming” and “unmanageable.” The project will focus on other social challenges, she said.

“Many people in our community understand that sexual violence has devastating consequences. What many people do not understand is that sexual violence is preventable and that victims can and do heal,” Johnston explained. “My goal in this position is for more people to feel confident in our ability to prevent and respond to sexual violence so that those other social challenges do not have the opportunity to emerge.”

Tara Newcombe, co-chairwoman of the board of directors, says the Red Door is hoping that after the two-year funding runs out, the project will continue on in some way to provide the community with a safe place to address and combat sexual violence.

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