Province Announces Investment into Telepsychiatry Assessments for Rural Emergency Departments, First Nation Communities

Press Release

August 12, 2021

Investment Will Help Manitobans in Rural and Remote Communities Access Mental Health Resources, Reduce Travel for Care: Gordon

The Manitoba government is investing more than $342,000 to provide emergency telepsychiatry assessments to rural emergency departments (EDs) and First Nations communities without current access to these services, Mental Health, Wellness and Recovery Minister Audrey Gordon announced today.

“Right now, there is a need for adult emergency telepsychiatry services in First Nations communities and rural emergency departments and nursing stations,” said Gordon. “This investment will ensure people experiencing mental health issues can have access to psychiatric support that is timely, efficient and reliable.”

Telepsychiatry delivers real-time care through secure videoconferencing. Accessing psychiatric assessments for individuals experiencing a mental health crisis can be particularly challenging in remote and rural communities including many First Nations communities across Manitoba.

The minister noted that for too many Manitobans, quickly accessing care could require transportation out of their home community. Offering these services virtually allows for timely access to specialized care without the need for an individual to be relocated away from their community and support network.

“For people experiencing a mental health crisis, reaching out for help is not always easy,” said Jitender Sareen, provincial specialty lead, mental health and addictions, Shared Health. “The use of telepsychiatry removes a major hurdle to accessing care, allowing individuals to remain at home or in the community while accessing these specialized services.”

This investment, which will use secure videoconferencing equipment to connect individuals with real-time psychiatric assessment as well as appropriate supports and resources, is expected to support between 350 and 500 patients across the Manitoba each year, and will reduce both unnecessary hospital admissions and medical transports, the minister said.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, clinical providers and patients from across Manitoba have told us of the benefits of virtual care including the ability to heal and recover at home, or closer to home,” said Gordon. “Our government is pleased to support options that improve access and equity for Manitobans.”

For more information on mental health and addictions services in Manitoba, visit:

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For more information:

  • Public information, contact Manitoba Government Inquiry: 1-866-626-4862 or 204-945-3744.
  • Media requests for general information, contact Communications Services Manitoba: 204-945-3765.
  • Media requests for ministerial comment, contact Communications and Stakeholder Relations: 204-290-5374.


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