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Manitoba Government News Release–An expansion of Manitoba’s Thrival Kits project is seeing tremendous success provincewide, with more than 28,000 students in grades 4 to 6 at 296 schools now able to access evidence-based mental health supports, Families Minister Rochelle Squires, Mental Health, Wellness and Recovery Minister Audrey Gordon and Education Minister Cliff Cullen announced May 7, marking Mental Health Week and National Child and Youth Mental Health Day.

“Our government is focused on support and protection for vulnerable populations, and an increase in strong community prevention services for children, youth and families reduces their risk of involvement with Child and Family Services,” said Squires. “This support improves mental health services for youth and creates critical virtual access to mental wellness programming for children across the province.”

Thrival Kits incorporate evidence-based mental health practices such as mindfulness meditation, personal reflection, stress reduction and coping strategies, as well as interpersonal skills development. Available in English and French, the kits are introduced to children as part of activities throughout the school year. The Manitoba government has invested $1.4 million to expand kit distribution to all grades 4 to 6 students in the province.

The latest addition to the Thrival Kits initiative is $21,000 in funding to the Canadian Mental Health Association for a new virtual component, and was announced by Squires and Gordon on April 16. This was part of an overall $1.2 million in funding announced by the Manitoba government that day for mental health and addictions initiatives through the Canada-Manitoba Home and Community Care and Mental Health and Addictions Services Funding Agreement.

“Good mental health starts when we are young, but there needs to be a range of resources available to ensure everyone has the help they need, when and where it is needed,” said Gordon. “Through our partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association and the Manitoba Advocate for Children and Youth, the expansion of this project ensures that even more young people across the province are able to access the supports they need to incorporate good mental health practices into their daily lives.”

“The importance of the school environment and the relationship between teachers and kids in classrooms creates the ideal setting for the delivery of evidence-based mental health promotion activities,” said Ainsley Krone, acting advocate, Manitoba Advocate for Children and Youth.

The ministers noted the Canadian Mental Health Association’s newly enhanced virtual support is assisting facilitators of the program in classrooms, and helping this important work continue during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The support we have received from the Province of Manitoba to further develop Thrival Kits to bring them to virtual classrooms is critical during this year, as we all continue to support the resilience and well-being of children and youth during these challenging times,” said Marion Cooper, chief executive officer, Canadian Mental Health Association-Manitoba.

The Manitoba government has signed a proclamation today to mark National Child and Youth Mental Health Day, outlining its commitment to supporting the mental health and well-being of children, youth and adults, inclusive of all ages.

“Acknowledging our emotions and dealing with them supports good mental health, and this project helps students learn how to do just that,” said Cullen. “We will continue to work across government to ensure students, teachers and staff have access to mental health education and supports.”

Since the fall of 2019, the Manitoba government has announced 30 initiatives valued at more than $50.2-million to improve mental health and addictions services throughout the province, across the continuum of care. These include projects promoting good mental health at schools, as well as programs supporting families and Indigenous organizations, the creation of peer support options and investments in supportive recovery housing.

For more information, as well as social media resources, tool kits and articles, visit https://mentalhealthweek.ca/.