News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

May 4, 2015


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First Step in New, Multi-year Strategy to Enhance Mental Health Supports for Manitoba Children: Minister Wight

The Manitoba government will invest $2 million in the first year of a comprehensive, multi-year strategy to support child and youth mental health, Children and Youth Opportunities Minister Melanie Wight announced today.

“Investments in mental health help children grow up healthy, happy and give them the best chance to succeed in school and beyond,” said Minister Wight.  “Together with our community partners, we’re developing a comprehensive strategy that will prevent mental health problems early on and provide effective supports and services for those who need them.”

The strategy, to be released later this year, will build a continuum of supports ranging from mental health promotion and prevention of mental health problems to interventions and treatment for children and youth with the most complex needs, the minister added.

Minister Wight said key initiatives will include:

  • identifying and supporting critical services and workforce needs,
  • increasing services and training in support of children and youth with mental health problems and illnesses including those with complex needs,
  • launching a program that will equip home visitor staff to provide mental health supports to at-risk parents and families,
  • expanding the PAX Good Behaviour Game to additional classrooms across the province, and
  • expanding Roots of Empathy and Seeds of Empathy programs to more classrooms and child-care centres across Manitoba.

“We know that good mental health starts early and it starts in our homes, schools and communities,” said Healthy Living and Seniors Minister Deanne Crothers.  “We all have a role to play in giving our kids the best chance to flourish.”

“Positive mental health of Manitoba’s children and youth is essential for strong development and success at learning,” said Barb Isaak, president, Manitoba Association of School Superintendents(MASS).  “The strategy will be a key component in addressing the needs of schools in supporting the mental health of our students.” 

Minister Wight noted provincial staff will work closely with MASS and other partners to create a workforce plan that will bridge gaps, build on strengths and provide equitable access to services.

“These investments are timely and much needed,” said Marion Cooper, executive director, Canadian Mental Health Association for Manitoba and Winnipeg.  “There is strong evidence that says promoting good mental health ‘upstream’ – with young people and their families – is effective from both personal and public health perspectives.”

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