Health Minister Susan Sullivan. — Telegram file photo
Health and Community Services Minister Susan Sullivan says she's hopeful collaborative efforts, spearheaded by a provincial Mental Health and Addictions Community Leadership Committee, will begin to break down barriers of stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness and addictions.
The minister said in a news release the provincial government recognized the importance of engaging communities and individuals directly affected by mental health and addictions issues when it established the committee to provide advice and recommendations to the province on awareness and anti-stigma initiatives.
The committee consists of 20 participants, 10 male and 10 female, throughout the province with personal or family experience of mental health and addictions issues, including a focus on the perspectives of seniors and youth, homelessness and health promotion and wellness.
“Over the last couple of years, our government has made significant investments to implement an E-Mental Health and Awareness Program,” said Sullivan. “The goal of this program is to reduce the stigma and discrimination associated with mental health and addictions and increase access to services to help combat these issues. The establishment of the community leadership committee will allow us to seek input and advice from people dealing with mental illness, which is crucial when developing initiatives tailored to meet the needs of individuals.”
Two requests for proposals (RFP) were issued recently as part of the E-Mental Health and Awareness Program.
The first RFP is for the development of two interactive e-mental health and addictions websites, one for youth and the other a knowledge exchange portal for stakeholders.
The second RFP is for the development of a mass media awareness campaign to help decrease the stigma and discrimination associated with mental health and addictions.
Over the past three years, the province has invested about $29 million to support mental health and addictions throughout the province. This includes $15.5 million, announced in its 2012 budget for the continued development of the youth treatment centres in Grand Falls-Windsor and Paradise and the adult addictions treatment centre in Harbour Grace.