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Manitoba Government News Release–The Manitoba government continues to make strategic investments and work collaboratively with community partners to improve the mental health and well-being of children and youth, Mental Health and Community Wellness Minister Sarah Guillemard announced today on Bell Let’s Talk Day, an initiative focused on engaging Canadians to take action to create positive change in mental health.

“Mental health and wellness encompass mind, body and spirit, and are essential aspects of overall health,” said Guillemard. “Our government is pleased to enhance mental health promotion and programming to help all Manitobans live their healthiest lives. Through engagement with community partners, cross-departmental collaboration and the commitment of multiple sectors, we are focused on improving the mental health of children and youth as a priority. The Department of Mental Health and Community Wellness is also working with stakeholders to develop a suicide prevention strategy.”

Since 2019, the Manitoba government has invested more than $65 million in over 52 initiatives to improve mental health and addictions services throughout the province, noted Guillemard.

The minister highlighted some of the mental-health education, promotion, early intervention and anti-stigma programs and services that support Manitoba’s children, youth and families including:

  • Strongest Families Institute, which provides evidence-based, bilingual e-mental health services for parents and children ( https://strongestfamilies.com );
  • Kids Help Phone, which provides phone, online and text-based support to youth across Canada ( https://kidshelpphone.ca );
  • Project 11, which provides virtual and in-person lessons and activities to improve mental health awareness and positive coping strategies for students in kindergarten to Grade 12 ( https://projecteleven.ca );
  • Huddle sites, which provide low-barrier, trauma-informed and culturally appropriate health and social services in a youth-friendly atmosphere ( https://huddlemanitoba.ca );
  • Pax Dream Makers, which empowers youth to create peace, productivity, health and happiness by co-developing and implementing action plans for themselves and their communities;
  • the Indigenous Youth Mentorship Program, which is a communal, relationship-based after-school healthy living program that partners Indigenous high school mentors with elementary school children to promote holistic wellness;
  • Families and Schools Together, which is a research-informed approach to strengthening family relationships and enhancing child development ( https://familydynamics.ca/services/families-and-schools-together ); and
  • Thrival Kits, distributed through the Canadian Mental Health Association, which promote positive mental health practices to students in grades 4 to 6 through evidence-based mental-health practices such as mindfulness, meditation, personal reflection, stress reduction, coping strategies and interpersonal skills development ( https://thrivalkits.ca/ ).

“The Bell Let’s Talk campaign is about taking action to build up community resources to improve mental health and substance use issues,” said Marion Cooper, CEO, Canadian Mental Health Association. “These ongoing investments from the Manitoba government enhance the community mental health and addiction sector by funding grassroots organizations to provide innovative and ‘made-in-Manitoba’ solutions while working with diverse stakeholders and departments to make access to prevention, intervention and treatment supports possible.”

The minister unveiled A Pathway to Mental Health and Community Wellness: A Roadmap for Manitoba in February 2022 to build a responsive and reliable system for mental health, substance use and addictions services as well as chronic disease prevention and health promotion. This five-year strategy focuses on system improvements and investments in five key areas, including:

  • equitable access and co-ordination;
  • mental well-being and chronic disease prevention;
  • quality and innovation;
  • Indigenous partnership and wellness; and
  • governance and accountability.

To view the full roadmap, visit https://gov.mb.ca/mh/roadmap.html