The Manitoba government has awarded a contract to Virgo Planning and Evaluation Incorporated to assist the province in developing a provincial mental health and addictions strategy, Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Kelvin Goertzen announced today.
“As Manitobans mark the 66th annual Canadian Mental Health Association Mental Health Week, it is very fitting that we are taking this next step to identify the gaps, clarify the needs and develop a strategy to make our mental health and addictions programs and services better co-ordinated and more accessible,” said Goertzen. “By investing in this strategy, we are investing in long-term health and better quality of life for all Manitobans.”
Goertzen said the consulting team, under the leadership of Dr. Brian Rush and Adair Roberts, possesses a considerable breadth national and clinical knowledge and experience in mental health and substance use system design and planning. Roberts recently facilitated the Opioid Conference and Summit on behalf of the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse and Health Canada in Ottawa last November, which concluded with specific action commitments from provinces and health stakeholders.
Virgo Planning and Evaluation Inc. is expected to develop an evidence-based mental health and addictions strategic plan focused on improving access to services and the co-ordination of resources for Manitobans, the minister said. The strategy will look across the lifespan, looking at the needs of children, youth, and adults for both mental health and addictions services, he said.
“Ensuring timely access to quality, comprehensive mental health and addictions services will support the health and well-being of Manitoba families and strengthen our communities,” said Marion Cooper, executive director of the Canadian Mental Health Association, Manitoba and Winnipeg. “We look forward to this strategy, and to continuing our work to ensure Manitobans have the mental health and addictions supports they need.”
Goertzen said that Virgo Planning and Evaluation Inc. is expected to present a strategic framework with recommendations to the government by Dec. 31.