Innovations in Mental Health and Addictions Learning Series

In the spring of 2018, the Ministry of Health, Seniors and Active Living released Improving Access and Coordination of Mental Health and Addictions Services: A Provincial Strategy for all Manitobans. Known throughout the health system as the Virgo Report, the document was a comprehensive examination of the province’s mental health and addictions programs and included a series of recommendations aimed at providing equitable and evidence-based services to Manitobans.

Arising from those recommendations were more than 30 initiatives valued at over $50 million to improve mental health and addictions services in Manitoba. To highlight those initiatives and the tremendous work taking place we are excited to present the Innovations in Mental Health and Addictions Learning Series. Today, we are sharing the dates and times of the first four presentations in the learning series.

This learning series will feature the lead agencies of the initiatives providing a 30-minute virtual presentation on their projects. It is our hope that building a larger awareness of the initiatives among health and social services personnel will lead to increased referrals and access to the appropriate services for clients. The learning series will also provide a platform to promote evidence-based alternatives, overall system collaboration and knowledge sharing.

The information below contains the schedule for the remainder of 2021 and details on how to register for the upcoming webinars.

Following the completion of each webinar, the video will be posted to this page for those who wish to view the session again or were unable to attend at the scheduled time. 

Upcoming Presentations 

The NorWest Youth Hub is an integrated service centre for youth ages 12-29, offering free services in the areas of mental health, substance use, primary healthcare, employment, recreation, and more. Youth Hubs provide low-barrier, youth-friendly, integrated services for young people and their families in a “one-stop-shop” model. The NorWest Youth Hub operates in partnership with internal NorWest staff & teams, as well as with external agencies including the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba (AFM), Manitoba Adolescent Treatment Centre (MATC), Rainbow Resource Centre, and more.


Kendra Monk, NorWest Youth Hub Coordinator

Go To Webinar Registration: click here



Tamarack Recovery Centre has been successfully operating an accredited residential addictions treatment and recovery program in the West Broadway Community for nearly 50 years. In 2021 we were able to fulfill a long-held dream by opening a transition home for our program graduates two doors away from our treatment centre. “The Branch” provides affordable, supportive recovery housing for up to 10 residents, ranging from a few months to two years post-treatment. Residents participate in education, work or volunteer opportunities along with weekly case management and supports to achieve their long-term recovery goals. In this presentation we will give a brief overview of Tamarack’s treatment model and talk in depth about the innovative program of supportive housing at The Branch.


Lisa Cowan, Executive Director and Joanne Riedle, Clinical and Transition Supervisor

Go To Webinar Registration: click here


Peer 2 Peer Connections is a peer support program that provides value-based, formalized peer support to individuals experiencing a mental health or addiction related crisis and their families and natural supports within Manitoba. Intended to augment clinical mental health care, individuals/family members/natural supports can access peer support in specific clinical settings with an option of up to four weeks post-discharge follow-up support and connection to community peer support thereafter. Formalized peer support is built on values of hope and recovery, empathetic and equal relationships, self-determination, dignity, respect and social inclusion, integrity, authenticity and trust, health and wellness, and lifelong learning and personal growth. Peer supporters focus on strengths, not weaknesses, and inspiring hope while working towards individual and/or family well-being and recovery.

The presentation will include a look into program design, implementing peer support within a multidisciplinary setting, and developing a formalized and value-based peer support workforce.


Julia Hoeppner Director of Operations and Adam Milne, Peer Support Manager, Peer Connections Manitoba

Go To Webinar Registration: click here 


Enhanced School-based Mental Health and Addictions (MHA) Supports for youth is a new initiative that focuses on youth grades 6 to 12. Using a High-Fidelity Wraparound approach, the initiative adds psychiatric nurses and addiction support workers to existing school-based clinical teams. The initiative allows for enhanced access to supports before requiring a referral to other community services or a regional health authority program. These additional resources are intended to reduce community clinic wait times for children and youth, strengthen inter-agency co-ordination, and provide parents and families with a voice and choice in the treatment plans for their children.


Members of the program team

Go To Webinar Registration: click here 


Past Presentations 

The Mobile Withdrawal Management Service (MWMS) is a community-based outreach withdrawal and stabilization service established in 2019 and operated through Klinic Community Health across Winnipeg and the neighbouring  community of East St Paul. The program engages people who request  support  while withdrawing from a substance of concern, as identified by the individual.  MWMS is resolutely client-centered and entirely voluntary.  The program brings services—both literally and figuratively—to where people are at.  MWMS’s staff complement includes health and support workers, nurses, peer support workers, and prescribers.  Additionally, there are built-in linkages to Indigenous cultural support, trauma counselling, and primary care.  Harm reduction principles, barrier reduction, and non-judgmental engagement are foundational to the program.  MWMS is available to clients for up to thirty days, with extensions available.  Participants tailor their care journey throughout this time  and  determine what—if any—next steps are to be undertaken.


Kelly Surbey,  Program Coordinator; Health  and Support Worker, Mobile Withdrawal Management Service, Klinic Community Health

Chantelle  Partyka, Registered Nurse, Mobile Withdrawal Management Service, Klinic Community Health

Andrew Lodge,  Physician Lead, Mobile Withdrawal Management Service; Medical Director, Klinic Community Health

Spence Neighbourhood Association and 1JustCity operate community drop-in centres in Winnipeg which provide 24/7 access for community members in need of shelter, food, and a place to belong. Our organizations are proud to offer barrier-free services for people of all ages experiencing poverty, homelessness or precarious housing, with mental health and/or substance use disorders, facing oppression, social isolation, and more. We work together to ensure that vulnerable Winnipeggers in the central parts of the city always have a place to belong. Our presentation will include information about the services offered at SNA and 1JustCity drop-in centres.
• Josh Ward, Community Facilitator, 1JustCity
• Lin Howes Bann, Spence Neighbourhood Association

In the summer of 2018, Rapid Access to Addiction Medicine (RAAM) clinics were established by the Province of Manitoba to improve access to addiction medicine. In review, the clinics have been resounding success, but challenges remain.
The RAAM service delivery model is designed to provide patient-centred, short-term, low barrier access to evidence-based addiction medicine care through walk-in clinics. Once the patient is stabilized, they are linked with community resources for longer term care. The creation of six RAAM clinics is a unique collaboration between the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba, Shared Health and regional health authorities (Southern Health-Santé Sud, Prairie Mountain Health, Interlake-Eastern, Northern).The initiative has elevated the profile of addiction medicine within health care and other service sectors. The presentation includes an in-depth look into the RAAM model including its successes and struggles.
• Dr. Ginette Poulin, RAAM Hub medical co-lead
• Brent Anderson, RAAM Hub Provincial Coordinator

The Newcomer Trauma-Focused Service is a program designed to provide mental health support to ethno-cultural and racialized populations (refugees and immigrants) who have had experiences of moderate-to-severe trauma. Program participants are provided with opportunities for long-term therapy, psychological and psychiatric services, case management and connections to the formal mental health system. This collaborative model utilizes partnerships with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, Family Dynamics and various ethno-cultural and faith communities to provide holistic, trauma-informed and culturally appropriate supports to newcomer individuals, families and communities regardless of their immigration status or time in Manitoba. Our presentation will also include information on the other programs and services offered by Aurora Family Therapy Centre.
• Heather C. Robertson, Director of Mental Health Services, Aurora Family Therapy Centre

The CEDVIP project provides a 24/7 response to Health Sciences Centre Emergency Departments to offer support to youth (ages 14-29) who have presented with an injury caused by violence. Youth are offered trauma-informed, flexible follow up support in community to assist with reduction of their risk and support stability to prevent repeat injury.
• Tammy Rowan, Clinical Team Coordinator
• Shannon Watson, Lead – Complex Community Service Integration



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