News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

December 31, 2021

PROVINCE EXPANDS STRONGEST FAMILIES INSTITUTE PROGRAM TO PROVIDE MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES TO ALL MANITOBANS



The Manitoba government is expanding the Strongest Families Institute (SFI) skill-based programs to serve Manitobans of all ages as an ongoing effort to support pandemic-related anxiety and mental health issues as well as promote mental well-being, Mental Health, Wellness and Recovery Minister Audrey Gordon announced today.

 “Manitobans of any age can experience mental health issues, and with the ongoing effects of the pandemic, the province is ensuring there are programs available for those seeking assistance,” said Gordon. “Our government remains committed to providing resources to support Manitobans as we get through this pandemic together.”

SFI provides accessible, evidence-based, bilingual e-mental health services for children, youth, adults and families. In 2019, SFI was contracted by the Manitoba government to provide mental health services to children and youth. The program is now expanding to offer services to adults.

“The announcement today of this service expansion provides quick access to our adult mental health ICAN program for clients 18 plus affected by anxiety and depression,” said Dr. Patricia Lingley-Pottie, president and CEO, Strongest Families Institute. “We offer a diverse range of options designed to bring care to clients in a way that is convenient and stigma free at times that are convenient for them. As we continue to navigate the many impacts the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on our mental health, we are pleased to increase our program offerings to Manitobans for improved mental well-being.”

The organization’s ICAN program provides adults with life skills to overcome anxiety, depression and stress, providing strategies to help cope with major life stressors. The program is available in two formats:

  • one-on-one or group-based telephone coaching, supported by a handbook or secure online format with a convenient app connection and other resources; or
  • self-directed with no coaching to allow the person to work through the program at their own pace in a secure online or app format.

Adults can self-refer to the SFI program by completing an online form at https://login.strongestfamilies.com/signup/ican/page/1/ or by calling 1-866-470-7111.

Children and youth continue to require a referral to access SFI programs. Parents, guardians and caregivers can call their regional health authority, the Manitoba Adolescent Treatment Centre or their primary health-care provider for a referral. Available children’s programs include Parents Empowering Kids, Chase Worries Away, Defeat Anxiety and Dry Nights Ahead.

Since January 2019, SFI has helped over 1,800 Manitoba families through these programs. Visit https://strongestfamilies.com/ for more information on SFI programs for children, youth and adults in Manitoba.

Other mental health resources are available to Manitobans through Wellness Together Canada, funded by the Federal Government. Wellness Together Canada provides free 24-7 virtual services for mental-health and substance-use concerns, including immediate crisis support, evidence-based information and tools, peer support and one-on-one sessions with a counsellor through phone, text or live chat. For more information, visit https://wellnesstogether.ca/.

“Wellness Together Canada is pleased to provide Manitobans and all people across Canada a range of mental-health and substance-use supports to improve their health and wellness,” said AnnMarie Churchill, executive director of Stepped Care Solutions, a representative partner of Wellness Together Canada. “There are a variety of virtual resources and supports that are always free and available 24-7 – there is even an online resource selector to help you get started or if you prefer, you can call a program navigator for information and assistance.”

The minister noted local mental health and addictions organizations continue to provide services and supports in person, on the phone or through other virtual mechanisms. For more information on local crisis and non-crisis mental health services available by region, visit www.gov.mb.ca/health/mh/crisis.html.

The Mental Health and Wellness Resource Finder also provides a number of mental health, wellness and addictions supports and resources for individuals at https://sharedhealthmb.ca/services/mental-health/mental-health-and-wellness-resource-finder/.

The Manitoba Addictions Helpline for individuals dealing with alcohol, drug and gambling issues continues to be available from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 1-855-662-6605. More information is available at http://mbaddictionhelp.ca/.

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