October 25, 2020

Winnipeg
-2° C, Partly cloudy

Full Forecast

Close

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Access to mental health support, 24-7 virtual addictions clinic latest campaign promises for NDP, Liberals

THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods</p><p>Manitoba Liberal Party Leader Dougald Lamont speaks during a press conference in Winnipeg, Tuesday.</p>

THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

Manitoba Liberal Party Leader Dougald Lamont speaks during a press conference in Winnipeg, Tuesday.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 27/8/2019 (424 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Online counselling for post-secondary students and a virtual clinic for those coping with substance addictions were among the election promises the Manitoba Liberals and NDP made Tuesday.

Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont made a pledge to build a "24-7 virtual addictions co-ordination centre," to be staffed by medical professionals who could provide advice to those seeking treatment options. It would cost the public purse between $2 million and $3 million per year, and be modelled off a similar initiative in Alberta.

Manitoba has an addictions helpline (1-855-662-6605), staffed from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.

Lamont highlighted the Liberals' virtual clinic would have a hotline and website available to any Manitoban anytime, making it more accessible than the five rapid access to addictions medicine clinics the Tory government has installed in Winnipeg, Thompson, Selkirk, and Brandon since 2016.

"(The RAAM clinics) could be expanded, but part of the thing is that they are extremely geographically limited. I actually think this could be a substitute, but we can keep them both going for awhile to see if it works," Lamont said when asked what he would do with the clinics.

"Ultimately, I think that having a virtual space is important because right now, RAAM clinics are so incredibly limited in terms of both the time that they're open — which is two hours a day, a couple of days a week — and their physical limitations."

Lamont said a virtual clinic could help those who are reluctant to seek help from family doctors or medical practitioners they already know.

The Liberals would also look to increase capacity in Manitoba for treatment options for those struggling with mental health and addictions issues, so they don't have to look out of province for rehabilitation or detox options, he said.

NDP leader Wab Kinew said an NDP government would provide grants totalling $1.5 million annually to  mental health organizations and counsellors who provide free counselling services so they can take on more clients.

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

NDP leader Wab Kinew said an NDP government would provide grants totalling $1.5 million annually to mental health organizations and counsellors who provide free counselling services so they can take on more clients.

Meanwhile, the NDP promised to make mental health supports more accessible.

Leader Wab Kinew said an NDP government would provide grants totalling $1.5 million annually to organizations and counsellors who provide free counselling services or bill on a sliding scale, so they can take on more clients. He estimated the money would cover more than 13,000 visits.

Kinew said the NDP would also increase the number of counsellors in ACCESS centres to better integrate mental health care into primary care at a cost of $3.3 million over four years.

The NDP would also begin a pilot project, at a cost of $1 million annually, to bring a team approach in schools to support youth in need of mental health services. The "integrated youth teams" would help ensure clients get the service they need in a way that doesn't force a young person to tell their story over and over again, Kinew said at an announcement at West Kildonan Collegiate.

"These teams would include mental health nurses, social workers and youth workers," he said. "The exact makeup of each team would vary depending on the needs of the local community."

The team approach has been successful in New Brunswick, Kinew said, and is now being piloted in British Columbia.

As well, the NDP would commit $800,000 in startup funding as it works with post-secondary institutions to develop "virtual counselling" for students, including online chat, the NDP leader said.

Manitobans go to the polls Sept. 10.

jessica.botelho@freepress.mb.ca

larry.kusch@freepress.mb.ca

Larry Kusch

Larry Kusch
Legislature Reporter

Larry Kusch didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life until he attended a high school newspaper editor’s workshop in Regina in the summer of 1969 and listened to a university student speak glowingly about the journalism program at Carleton University in Ottawa.

   Read full biography

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

History

Updated on Tuesday, August 27, 2019 at 8:38 PM CDT: Adds photos

The Winnipeg Free Press invites you to share your opinion on this story in a letter to the editor. A selection of letters to the editor are published daily.

To submit a letter:
• fill out the form on this page, or
• email letters@freepress.mb.ca, or
• mail Letters to the Editor, 1355 Mountain Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R2X 3B6.

Letters must include the writer’s full name, address, and a daytime phone number. Letters are edited for length and clarity.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us