News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

April 15, 2020

Province Investing More Than $1.5 Million in New Mental Health Programs in Dauphin, Winnipeg to Support Manitoba Families

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This First-for-Manitoba Peer Support Program Will Help Individuals and Families, Regardless of Their Mental Health Diagnosis: Friesen

The Manitoba government is investing more than $1.5 million over three years in a new initiative to provide peer and family support services in Winnipeg and the Prairie Mountain Health region, led by the Manitoba Schizophrenia Society, Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen announced today.

“Peer support services have shown significant results in other jurisdictions in reducing inpatient hospital admissions, decreasing length of stay and rates of re-admission, and improving patient and family experiences in crisis situations,” said Friesen.

The Manitoba Schizophrenia Society will develop and offer a new program called Peer 2 Peer Connections services at Winnipeg’s Crisis Response Centre and the Dauphin Regional Health Centre.  The program will serve all individuals and families, regardless of their mental health diagnosis.

“We are excited to implement the Peer 2 Peer Connections initiative in collaboration with Robyn Priest Live Your Truth within the Crisis Response Centre and Dauphin Regional Health Centre to demonstrate the importance of providing peer support along the mental health continuum of care,” said Julia Hoeppner, interim executive director, Manitoba Schizophrenia Society (MSS).  “This initiative will positively impact both individuals and families dealing with various mental health diagnosis as peer and family support workers share their stories of resiliency to light a path in the direction of wellness and recovery.”

The equivalent of 12 new full-time individual and family peer support-worker positions will be created across the two sites, along with a manager to oversee the day-to-day operations of the program.

In this unique program, people with their own lived experience of mental health or addictions issues will be able to offer support and insight for others experiencing similar challenges.

Peer support programs offer an evidence-based service that uses the expertise of trained staff with lived experience to support the recovery of people struggling with mental health and addictions.

Support staff work with clients and families from initial contact through ongoing support and post-discharge followup.

Peer 2 Peer Connections fits well within the new MSS vision of ‘Mental Wellness for All’ and its mission, which is “to provide quality mental health education and value-based peer support for Manitobans and their families dealing with mental health challenges”.

The minister noted the implementation of this first for Manitoba program will meet a recommendation from the VIRGO report, which identified peer support in formal health-care settings as a short-term priority.

For more information on the Manitoba Schizophrenia Society, visit

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