Province announces nearly $3M for mental health, addictions education programs for children & youth

WINNIPEG — The Province of Manitoba has announced it will be investing nearly $3 million to enhance mental health and addictions education programs for children and youth.

The province said the investment is part of a comprehensive whole-of-government approach to improving mental health and addictions programming.

Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen, along with Education and Training Minister Kelvin Goertzen, and Families Minister Heather Stefanson made the announcement Monday at the NorWest Co-op Community Health Centre.

“These meaningful programs are the first of more than a dozen initiatives we will be bringing forward over the next three months as part of our government’s continuing efforts to improve mental health and addictions services for all Manitobans,” said Friesen in a release.

Monday’s announcement includes three new initiatives from the province, with a total investment of $2.94 million over three years:

  • $823,000 to the NorWest Youth Hub to increase mental health and addictions counselling, Indigenous cultural supports, primary health care, as well as recreation and training opportunities for youth aged 14 to 24;
  • $621,000 to Project 11, which provides virtual and in-person lessons and activities designed to improve mental health awareness and positive coping strategies for students in Kindergarten to Grade 8;
  • $1.5 million to expand the distribution of Thrival Kits to Grades 4 to 6 students across the province. (Source: Province of Maniotba)

“Investing in the mental health of Manitobans, including youth and children, is a primary commitment of our government,” said Goertzen.

According to the province, almost one in four Manitobans aged 10 and older has a diagnosed mood or anxiety disorder, while 75 per cent of mental illness onsets occur before 24.

The Manitoba government invested about $566 million last year to mental health and addictions. It said more than 100 mental health and addictions initiatives have been implemented across all governments since 2016.