Manitoba

Province commits $4.4M to mental health supports in Brandon, Portage la Prairie, Steinbach

The Manitoba government is investing millions of dollars toward improving mental health and addiction supports for young students in Brandon, Portage la Prairie and Steinbach.

Improvements meant to make supports more accessible for young students

Manitoba Health Minister Cameron Friesen says the new mental health supports will not duplicate or replace those already in place. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

The Manitoba government is investing millions of dollars toward improving mental health and addiction supports for young students in Brandon, Portage la Prairie and Steinbach.

The province will pay $4.4 million over three years to "enhance existing school-based clinical teams with psychiatric nurses and addiction support workers," with help from school divisions, the Manitoba Adolescent Treatment Centre, regional health authorities and the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba.

The goal is to allow students to access supports without needing a professional referral, to reduce wait times and to "provide parents and families with a voice and choice in the treatment plans for their children," Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen said in a media release.

The initiative will be piloted in the Hanover, Portage la Prairie and Brandon school divisions in years one and two of the project. Based on the outcomes of these investments, the project is anticipated to be scaled up to 12 teams in the third year, Goertzen noted.

"Hanover School Division is acutely aware of the increasing number of students suffering from mental health issues," said Randy Dueck, superintendent and CEO of the Hanover School Division, adding that the "social and emotional well-being of our students is a top priority for us over the next three years."

The initiative will not duplicate or replace mental health supports already in place, but it will allow children to get help sooner, said Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen.

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