WINNIPEG -- A new organization in Winnipeg is working to eliminate the wait for mental health help for children and their families.

Kidthink will see patients 12-years-old and younger and they don't need a referral.

Clinicians with the organization say many mental illnesses start in childhood and the earlier the treatment, the better the outcomes.

"We're teaching children to increase skills, to increase their awareness, to be able to think about how they’re feeling, their behaviour, being able to communicate and then being able to manage it," said Kari Deschameault, mental health clinician with Kidthink.

Analyn Einarson, executive director of the program, said it launched last April, much earlier than planned.

"We already had families calling us asking if we were open and providing services and we felt that we needed to be part of the solution and not part of the problem," said Einarson.

Since that time, Kidthink has made more than 2,000 connections with Manitobans, either through outreach programs or individual counselling.

If someone is looking for help, they don't need a diagnosis or a referral to use Kidthink.

"We want to make sure that there are very little barriers out there. Currently, our province is experiencing a very long waitlist for children and families to receive mental health resources and treatment."

Deschameault said the goal is to get families into treatment within two weeks so they can start building a set of skills and break down the stigma surrounding childhood mental health, "so that caregivers feel more prepared and more comfortable reaching out for the support at an earlier age for their children.”

The organization provides services on a sliding scale, meaning the cost is determined on a case-by-case basis.

Kidthink is a recipient of the Bell Let's Talk community grant, worth $20,000.