The Manitoba government is investing more than $2.7 million per year to enhance services at Rapid Access to Addictions Medicine (RAAM) clinics, add 16 new women’s treatment beds and expand programming offered by the Strongest Families Institute, Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen announced today.
“The VIRGO report identified the need for enhancing mental health and addictions capacity, and we are responding,” said Friesen. “These new investments will allow an additional 176 women per year to access treatment beds and 500 more families to get early intervention mental health services. It will also expand on our successful RAAM clinics, connecting more people to receive the help they need for their addictions by adding resources at all locations.”
The province’s new investments include:
• more than $1.23 million a year to enhance staffing resources at all five RAAM clinics throughout the province. This will also include expanded hours of operation in Winnipeg and Brandon, allowing the clinics to meet demand by continuing to see new patients during existing walk-in hours while ensuring dedicated time for providers to deliver followup care;
• $985,000 annually to add an additional 16 treatment beds for women, which can support up to 176 women requiring treatment a year; and
• $500,000 to expand mental health programming offered by Strongest Families Institute by an additional 500 families per year.
“Improving access to mental health and addictions supports and treatment is an important step in improving health outcomes for Manitobans. Through expanded and more readily accessible treatment, we continue to head in the right direction,” said Dr. Ginette Poulin, medical director for the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba. “These significant investments will enhance services for individuals seeking mental health and addictions treatment as well as help support patients and their families in their journey through recovery and healing.”
“With this increased investment, Strongest Families Institute can extend our reach even further to help Manitobans in need,” said Dr. Patricia Lingley-Pottie, CEO, Strongest Families Institute. “Today’s announcement is an important investment into the futures of Manitoba children and youth so they can lead happier, healthier lives.”
All three initiatives are expected to come into place within the next three months.
The Manitoba government has implemented 25 recommendations made in the VIRGO report since its release last year. The implementation of five other recommendations are in the process of being completed, while work continues to progress on a number of other initiatives identified in the report.
Improving mental health and addictions services have not been limited to the implementation of recommendations made in the VIRGO report, however. A tri-level task force is expected to report back later this month with short- and medium-term recommendations that respond to the rising use of illicit drugs in Manitoba communities. Additionally, deputy ministers from multiple provincial departments – health, seniors and active living, justice, families, and education and training – have met and co-ordinated various mental health and addictions services on a regular basis.
“When it comes to mental health and addictions, we are committed to facing that challenge head-on, with multiple government departments working together to launch initiatives and enhance initiatives that help Manitobans,” said Justice Minister Cliff Cullen.
Additionally, the development of Manitoba’s first provincial clinical and preventive services plan includes a specific focus on improving access, quality and equity of mental health and addictions services across the province. Clinical experts and front-line providers are involved in the development of new models and settings of care to improve co-ordination and communication between providers and to enhance the capacity to provide appropriate care in the community.
“The availability of core mental health and addictions services and supports have not been coordinated or aligned in several instances to the needs of patients throughout the province,” said Dr. Jitender Sareen, specialty lead of mental health and addictions, Shared Health. “Through the development of a clinical plan, we will be able to better support the needs of patients in communities across the province, allowing for earlier treatment and appropriate longer-term followup.”
For more information on the Virgo report and its recommendations, visit:
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