Manitoba Government News Release–The Manitoba government will reduce wait times and improve access to care by investing nearly $2.4-million to expand walk-in mental health services and specialized trauma counselling, Sport, Culture and Heritage Minister Cathy Cox, minister responsible for the status of women, announced today.

“Walk-in services and trauma care are an essential part of the continuum of mental health and addictions services,” said Cox. “By reducing barriers to care and shortening wait times, we will ensure more Manitobans can access mental health services if and when they need it.”

The funding, spread out over the next three years, will support:
• expanding Klinic Community Health Centre’s drop-in counselling program by eight hours each week, expanding access to more than 600 additional Manitobans per year;
• creating a seven-day-a-week centralized trauma intake and referral service at Klinic;
• expanding Klinic’s longer-term trauma counselling program, allowing for about 80 additional clients to be helped annually; and
• increasing the number of therapists to accommodate services for approximately 75 more women per year, reducing wait lists at the Laurel Centre.

The minister noted that walk-in mental health care provides rapid access to care, and helps providers followup and connect people to additional resources.

“Expanding hours, bolstering our trauma counselling program and creating a centralized intake will make it easier for patients to get the help they need,” said Nicole Chammartin, executive director, Klinic. “This investment in mental health services will help a greater number of Manitobans in their recovery.”

The minister noted 88 per cent of women who completed trauma programs at the Laurel Centre either reduced their substance use or were substance-free. Seventy per cent obtained or maintained their education, employment or became volunteers. By hiring additional therapists, the wait list for services will be reduced by up to 30 per cent, the minister noted.

“Access to timely help is key for so many women trying to overcome traumatic incidents in their lives,” said Heather Leeman, executive director, the Laurel Centre. “This investment will allow us to hire more therapists, reduce wait times and give more Manitobans the help they need.”

This funding fulfils a recommendation made in the VIRGO report, which was to enhance and accelerate support for people experiencing sexual and other significant trauma. It also upholds a commitment made during the recently completed provincial election campaign.

These new initiatives follow other recent announcements as part of the Manitoba government’s continued commitment to improving mental health and addictions services. Other recent initiatives include:
• expanded distribution of Thrival Kits,
• increased support for the NorWest Youth Hub,
• funding support to expand Project 11, and
• implementation of the Métis CART pilot project.

Cox noted these initiatives are based on recommendations made in a variety of reports, such as VIRGO, the Illicit Drug Task Force and the Community Wellness and Public Safety Alliance.

Initiatives announced as part of the Safer Streets, Safer Lives Action Plan are also moving forward, Cox said.

For more information, visit the Families website.