Surge in mental health and addictions concerns requires a considered, intentional approach to workforce development in Manitoba
BRANDON, MANITOBA, CANADA, August 26, 2021– Manitoba, like other Canadian provinces, has experienced a surge in the number of individuals seeking mental health and addiction services during the covid 19 pandemic, and LINKS Institute aims to respond to the need through developing community support workers focused on harm reduction. Based in Brandon, MB, but offering classes online, LINKS Institute is a new private career college that received operational approval in March, 2021. “Harm reduction is a set of approaches intended to help minimize negative outcomes for individuals who live higher risk life styles”, says Jackson, President and CEO of LINKS Institute. “As the needs of individuals accessing mental health and addiction services in Manitoba grows more complicated, approaches such as harm reduction are really cutting edge in ensuring folks receive the right support”.
Jackson, who is also a registered psychiatric nurse and doctoral student at the University of Manitoba, was previously the executive director of a large non-profit organization in Brandon and is well acquainted with the ongoing needs of people in the community. He elaborates, “There are a number of grassroots and established organizations offering harm reduction education in Manitoba, but less options at a formalized further education level. With LINKS, we hope to further formalize and scale learning in these important approaches”.
Alongside the development and marketing of the harm reduction program are important discussions in the City of Winnipeg and elsewhere about the legality of, and need for harm reduction related services such as supervised consumption sites. “As these prospective services are considered, it will be important to develop a suitably skilled, passionate workforce to deliver these services and support individuals in need”, says Jackson.
LINKS Institute is offering their harm reduction courses in a late fall intake on November 16th, 2021.