Initial Steps Will Remove Barriers, Increase Access to Services: Morley-Lecomte
PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE—The Manitoba government is investing more than $12 million to help up to 300 more individuals struggling with addictions gain access to timely and effective treatment closer to home, Mental Health and Community Wellness Minister Janice Morley-Lecomte announced here today.
“We are taking strong action to meet the growing demand for treatment for Manitobans pursuing recovery from addictions,” said Morley-Lecomte. “The initiatives announced today will move Manitoba toward the creation and support of up to 1,000 publicly funded treatment spaces available free of charge to individuals seeking addictions care. We are eliminating barriers to recovery by making it easier to navigate the system and increasing access to high-quality, evidence-based services.”
The Department of Mental Health and Community Wellness is investing nearly $1 million to maximize the capacity of existing community addictions treatment agencies, $2.64 million to add new rural medical withdrawal management spaces and $8.8 million to secure new publicly funded treatment spaces.
Ten community organizations currently providing addictions treatment services will receive increased operating funding to align with standardized provincial rates. The additional funding will allow the organizations to address fiscal pressures, ensure quality services and maximize existing capacities, the minister said.
“The Behavioural Health Foundation, having recently marked 50 years in addictions treatment services, sees the profound and often tragic impact of substance use on the families in our program,” said Marla Somersall, executive director, Behavioural Health Foundation (BHF). “Stable ongoing funding impacts every aspect of this work, from compensation for our dedicated team to program enhancements such as expanded employment development. This funding increase helps BHF to keep the focus on the work of treatment and supporting individuals to move forward with their lives.”
New medical withdrawal management beds in the Prairie Mountain Health region (Brandon – four beds), Southern Health-Santé Sud (Portage la Prairie – one bed with additional mobile withdrawal support available in the community) and Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority (Ashern – two beds) will provide up to 300 more Manitobans with addictions treatment per year. These new beds will provide safe, comprehensive care closer to home for individuals who require medical stabilization and support as they withdraw from substances, the minister noted.
“Not everyone beats addiction the same way. It is important to have options for treatment and counselling,” said Lee Price, a Manitoban who has recovered from an addiction through treatment. “Less wait time is important. It means less chance for the individual to change their mind or decide they can do it on their own.”
To secure new publicly funded treatment capacity, the Manitoba government is issuing an expression of interest to invite qualified addictions treatment service providers to bid on opportunities to implement additional spaces. These spaces will include bed-based treatment services, intensive day program spaces and supportive recovery housing units. The expression of interest can be reviewed at https://gov.mb.ca/mh/index.html.
The minister noted the support and enhancement of up to 1,000 publicly funded spaces, as committed to in last November’s speech from the throne, will ensure all Manitobans accessing addictions treatment receive high-quality, safe and effective care in pursuit of recovery.
Since 2019, the Manitoba government has announced over 52 initiatives valued at more than $65 million to improve mental health, substance use and addictions services across the province, recently including:
- an $893,000 investment for a new Indigenous-led Rapid Access to Addictions Medicine (RAAM) clinic;
- a $538,000 investment to expand opioid agonist treatment in the Interlake region;
- an expansion of Huddle Manitoba integrated youth hub services to six locations provincewide to ensure access to mental health and addictions supports; and
- a $390,000 investment to support expanded operating hours at several RAAM clinics.
These investments align with the Manitoba government’s long-range strategic plan, A Pathway to Mental Health and Community Wellness: A Roadmap for Manitoba, which was announced in February 2022 following extensive public and stakeholder engagement. Here are details on the program.