December 13, 2001

$1.5 Million Increase for Mental Health Programs

A $1.5 million increase for mental health programming in the Winnipeg health region will enable the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority to better serve the population through staffing increases and improved integration.

"While this funding increase is in three specific areas, it will impact and improve the mental health system overall providing clients, families, and staff with additional support and continuity of care between hospital based and community based mental health services," said Dr. Brian Postl, Chief Executive Officer.

Areas receiving funding increases include housing services, crisis response services and mental health service coordination.

"Housing is a major determinant of health," said Postl. "There is a need to increase the quantity and quality of supported and supportive housing options for individuals with mental health illness. A housing strategy will be developed to improve housing capacity."

A Housing Developer will be hired to create a housing strategy that will include intersectoral links with groups such as Manitoba Housing. In addition, staff will also be added to support mental health workers and clients to find and keep housing.

To improve mental health service coordination, more mental health staff based in the community will be hired allowing for the enhancement of mental health services within each of the community areas in Winnipeg.

A Project Developer will be hired to review and evaluate the current crisis response system and to research effective crisis systems in other jurisdictions in order to design a more integrated response system in Winnipeg.

"The Health Authority is committed to working with consumers and families to deliver quality care," said Postl. "We are working with the Winnipeg Regional Mental Health Advisory Committee to ensure consumers and families have a way to provide their input." Working groups have been established which include consumers and family members. These groups will work on defining the strategies and recommending implementation of new services.

Funding for housing capacity and crisis response services and mental health service coordination will each increase by $500,000 annually. This amounts to nearly a 10 per cent increase in adult community based mental health service expenditures.

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