Manitoba Government Adding Five Clinical Health Psychologists to Reduce Wait Times for Psychological Services

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Children, Youth and Adults to Benefit from $853,000 Investment, Identified as a Key Priority within Mental Health and Community Wellness Five-Year Roadmap: Guillemard

[June 27, 2022] The Manitoba government is taking action to improve access to clinical health psychologists with the goal of reducing wait times for children, youth and adults, Mental Health and Community Wellness Minister Sarah Guillemard announced today.

“We heard from experts in the field and directly from families in the community that timely access to psychological services saves lives and changes lives for the better,” said Guillemard. “Recruitment of these five new, highly skilled health-care professionals is a key first step in better meeting the needs of Manitobans by reducing wait times for diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses.”

Clinical health psychologists specialize in providing evidence-based psychological therapies to treat mental health conditions. Two of the new psychologists will work in child and adolescent services, two in adult services and one in adult forensic services working closely with the justice system. The minister noted recruitment is already underway.

“These new positions are an important step in improving our ability to provide critical, timely care for Manitobans, both in hospital and through outpatient services,” said Dr. Lesley Graff, provincial medical specialty lead, Clinical Health Psychology. “The focus of these initial recruitments in these highly specialized areas of need for children and adults will allow for a timely and appropriate response. Expanding the women’s perinatal mental health services, for example, will ensure women can be seen more quickly for postpartum depression, anxiety in pregnancy, or following a traumatic birth, which can be critical for the long-term health and well-being of new moms and their families.”

“We, at the Manitoba Psychological Society, are pleased to hear that additional psychologist positions will be created within the public health system,” said Dr. Jo Ann Unger, president, Manitoba Psychological Society. “This is a good first step in addressing the psychologist shortage and improving Manitoban’s access to effective psychological care. We look forward to working with the government and the public health system on future initiatives to further address this workforce and access need in Manitoba.”

In Manitoba, clinical psychologists play a key role in addressing many of the chronic health system pressures and accessibility priorities identified within the five-year roadmap A Pathway to Mental Health and Community Wellness: A Roadmap for Manitoba . Establishing new psychology positions also aligns with the VIRGO report’s priorities to provide better access to psychologists for diagnosis and advanced, targeted mental health treatment and is aligned with Manitoba’s Clinical and Preventive Services Plan .

Manitoba’s Clinical Health Psychology Program is a provincial service within Shared Health and provides clinical care across the lifespan from toddlers to seniors. This includes services for individuals impacted by mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety and psychosis, as well as psychological care for acute and chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, stroke, brain injury, sleep disorders and pain.

Guillemard was pleased to join the Victoria Hospital Foundation and Manitoba Blue Cross in announcing a $1.78-million investment by the Victoria Hospital Foundation in two mental health initiatives at the official opening of the Manitoba Blue Cross Mental Health Assessment Unit.

The dedicated therapeutic space was created to provide dignified and supportive recovery services and specialized mental health assessments in a soothing, private, home-like environment.

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