Release of the Virgo Final Report: “Improving Access and Coordination of Mental Health and Addiction Services: A Provincial Strategy for all Manitobans” specifically emphasizes the discovery made during the system review that for almost every service encountered, the largest percentage of people being served were of Indigenous background.
The report acknowledges the “history of colonization and historical trauma, and ongoing challenges with respect to social determinants of health. More importantly, we believe the overall system of services will not improve significantly in terms of access or coordination without a concerted and sustained effort to better meet the needs of the province’s Indigenous people.
Of the many issues brought forward unique to Indigenous people, two were particularly salient:
- the need for more culturally informed services, including land-based programs, and support for those community members whose customary language is their own native language and who have trouble understanding words and concepts expressed in English.
- Last, the “jurisdictional issue”— a fundamental challenge to be addressed going forward as it underlies significant issues related to access and coordination. This was one of the top priorities identified in the validation events.
Other specific issues identified previously with respect to the preceding Strategic Priorities, including,
- the need for more local, and more flexible, services, including longer term treatment and pre-and post-treatment supports;
- the need for better integration of SUA and MH (substance use/addiction and mental health problems and illnesses) services;
- the need to fill specific gaps for youth and women; and
- a critical need for Withdrawal Management Services (WMS), transitional stabilization to support access to treatment, housing, transportation and crisis services, including post-crisis healing opportunities.