Manitoba NDP pledge money for counselling, mental-health services

Manitoba New Democrats are promising more money for mental health if they win the Sept. 10 provincial election.

NDP government would spend extra $1.5M on free and subsidized mental-health services

NDP Leader Wab Kinew, flanked by education workers and some of his party's candidates, promised more mental-health care for Manitobans, including services in school settings like West Kildonan Collegiate, where he held Tuesday's campaign announcement. (Ian Froese/CBC)

Manitoba New Democrats are promising more money for mental health if they win the Sept. 10 provincial election.

NDP Leader Wab Kinew says he would pump an additional $1.5 million a year toward free and subsidized mental-health counselling services offered by organizations in order to offer more sessions.

Kinew says he would expand mental health services at the province's Access community health centres by hiring seven additional counsellors and by developing a virtual counselling option — through avenues like texting — for post-secondary students.

If elected, his party would also develop four teams of mental-health nurses, social workers and youth workers who would travel to different schools to work with kids in need. The NDP pegged the cost at $1 million annually.

Easier on students

Under the current model, Kinew said, students may have to open up about their struggles several times to teachers, counsellors and other adults. 

"We want to make it easier on the student, on the young person, so that they only have to tell their story once," Kinew said, explaining students would be referred to additional resources if needed.

The pilot project would be expanded if it proves successful, Kinew said.

Kinew says his ideas would help reduce costs for people seeking help and make the services more accessible.

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With files from Ian Froese and The Canadian Press


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