Manitoba releases mental health strategic plan

Initiatives include workforce strategy around recruitment, training

Manitoba has released a new provincial mental health strategic plan that will influence policy and practices that support people in employment. A provincial workforce strategy will also assess and guide recruitment, training and retention of the mental health services workforce.

"Our new five-year strategic plan looks at ways to improve mental health services and supports to ensure all Manitobans can get the resources they need and the best help possible when they need it," said Health Minister Theresa Oswald.

The plan includes a combination of actions to promote good mental health and strengthen the systems that provide support and services to those with mental health problems, such as:

• identifying ways to strengthen service navigation across the mental health system
• developing a provincial action plan for mental health promotion and mental illness prevention
• reducing barriers to mental health services, with a focus on Aboriginals and newcomers to Canada
• strengthening service co-ordination within and among regional health authorities, government departments, other jurisdictions and organizations
• developing a provincial program to reduce stigma and social prejudice with an initial focus on health-care providers, children and youth
• working with provincial partners to address the service needs of people with acquired brain injuries.

The province will invest more than $400,000 to implement initiatives that include the establishment of a trauma resource centre. A 20-member provincial advisory group provided initial advice in the development of Rising to the Challenge: A Strategic Plan for the Mental Health and Well-Being of Manitobans. The province also consulted people who have experienced mental health problems and illnesses, family members, service providers and policy makers from across Manitoba.

"Rising to the Challenge is an inspiring, ambitious and must-do invitation to all Manitobans individually and collectively as a society to create one of the best provincial mental health systems in Canada," said Chris Summerville, executive director of the Manitoba Schizophrenia Society and the Schizophrenia Society of Canada. "Truly realistic, hopeful, visionary, practical, person-centred and recovery-oriented, this provincial strategy has the real potential to lead to the transformation of mental health services in our province in improving and increasing mental health and well-being for all."

The plan will be implemented over the next five years and can be found at

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