WINNIPEG - The government of Manitoba says it’s investing $1.2 million toward addiction and mental health services in the province.
The funding comes as data from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner shows that 372 Manitobans died of drug overdose in 2020, a 87 per cent increase over the previous year. Over 68 per cent of those deaths involved opioids like fentanyl.
Minister of Mental Health, Wellness, and Recovery Audrey Gordon says the funding is part of a Mental Health and Addictions Services joint funding agreement with the federal government. The province has devoted $60,000 to provide Naloxone kits to Community Living disABILITY Services, and the funds will also benefit organizations that include Blue Thunderbird Family Care Inc., Manitoba Adolescent Treatment Centre, and Mount Carmel Clinic.
“Our government understands that mental health is just as important as physical health,” Gordon says, “And we know that many people are struggling with the additional pressures created by the COVID-19 pandemic.” Gordon says the funding strategy follows recommendations made by VIRGO, a 2018 report on improving access for mental health and addiction services in Manitoba.
Our government is committed to #ProtectingManitobans and is providing $1.2M for mental health and addictions initiatives through the Canada-Manitoba and Community Care and Mental Health and Addictions Services Funding Agreement. #mbpoli pic.twitter.com/QUojjqK153— Audrey Gordon (@min_agordon) April 16, 2021
Families Minister Rochelle Squires said the funds will help Manitobans who are most vulnerable, including children and youth. “An increase in community prevention services for families will help reduce their risk of involvement with Manitoba Child and Family Services,” Squires says.
“This investment will help ensure that high-quality mental health and addictions services are available to those who need them,” Gordon adds. In March, the province added more programming to care for Manitoba youth experiencing mental health and addiction issues.
Pleased to announce the expansion of five additional Youth Hub sites in Manitoba. Each of these Youth Hubs will bring together mental health care and other social services in one youth-friendly site. #youth pic.twitter.com/S5PFbtnkW9— Audrey Gordon (@min_agordon) March 18, 2021
Before becoming an MLA, Gordon was a Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, and spent three years as a project manager for the WRHA working on quality and efficiency in health care delivery.