Manitoba Government News Release–The Manitoba government is investing $700,000 toward its continued support of a locally developed mindfulness-based cognitive behavioural therapy (CBTm) program that helps participants develop skills to improve their mental health, Mental Health and Community Wellness Minister Sarah Guillemard announced today.
“Our government is proud to continue supporting this innovative and accessible program that addresses the mental health needs of Manitobans, which have become increasingly important during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Guillemard. “The CBTm hub leads the innovation, capacity-building and collaboration of mental health resources throughout Manitoba while standardizing the types of therapies available across the province.”
The government’s investment in CBTm over the past two years now totals $1 million, including a provincial investment of $300,000 in 2021 to establish the hub.
Cognitive behavioural therapy is a well-recognized, evidence-based treatment that is effective at addressing a range of mental health and substance use needs, noted the minister. The CBTm program incorporates principles of mindfulness to help participants reduce stress, anger, fatigue, sleep problems and negative health outcomes while building skills to better cope with stressful life situations.
“Far too many Manitobans struggle to access mental health supports and so we definitely welcome this expanded investment in CBTm,” said Rebecca Blaikie, executive director, Norwest Co-op Community Health. “At Norwest, we have seen the positive impact that access to cognitive behavioural therapy can have on quality of life for our community members.”
This investment will allow the CBTm program to expand access and improve programming, the minister noted, adding that during the next year the program aims to train up to 100 new facilitators and recruit up to 1,000 new participants. Originally developed for adults 18 years and older, the CBTm program will now work on adapting its materials for adolescents so the training can also be delivered to youth aged 14 to 17.
“Cognitive behavioural therapy helps to provide individuals with the tools they need to manage their mental health,” said Dr. Jitender Sareen, provincial medical specialty lead, mental health and addiction, Shared Health. “The continued investment in these services will ensure more Manitobans are better equipped to cope in stressful circumstances, resulting in improved mental well-being and reduced negative health outcomes.”
CBTm is a five-week program that offers participants a low-barrier, low-stigma environment for learning cognitive behavioural therapy concepts and skills. Classes were initially delivered in-person by clinicians at more than 50 hospital and community-based sites. However, to meet the pandemic-related increased demand for the program while complying with social distancing requirements, CBTm was developed into two virtual formats. One format is a facilitator-led program through Zoom, most similar to in-person classes, and the other is a self-directed, web-based program. Both programs can be accessed from the comfort of participants’ homes.
Developed to improve access, reduce wait times and offer culturally sensitive programming, CBTm has already been adapted to provide targeted services to specific groups including the 50-plus population, public safety personnel, Indigenous communities, cancer patients and women who are pregnant or have given birth in the previous 12 months.
“Since 2019, our government has invested more than $58 million in initiatives focused on improving access to and co-ordination of mental health and addictions services in Manitoba,” said Guillemard. “The CBTm program is one of these initiatives that improve Manitobans’ access to psychological treatments and we are proud to continue supporting this important program.”
Through the University of Manitoba, individuals can self-refer to gain access to CBTm. For more information, visit https://cbtm.ca/.