WINNIPEG -- The Manitoba government is investing $428,000 to help improve access to mental health and addiction services as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Mental Health, Wellness and Recovery minister Audrey Gordon made the announcement in a news release on Monday, saying the funds will support counselling and expand mobile withdrawal management services at the Klinic Community Health Centre.

Gordon noted that it is always difficult to deal with mental health and addiction challenges, but it can be even more difficult during the pandemic.

“This funding will enhance the mental health and addictions services offered at Klinic Community Health Centre, so Manitobans struggling with mental health or addictions issues have access to the services they need, when they need them,” she said.

According to the province, more than $292,000 will go to the Klinic Mobile Withdrawal Management Services program in order to increase staffing, provide additional physician time, and increase program capacity.

Manitoba is also giving one-time funding of $136,000 to the Klinic 24-hour Crisis and Support Services Line. This funding will support volunteer training, increase system capacity, help to hire staff counsellors, and help to purchase equipment so volunteers can work from home.

Nicole Chammartin, executive director of Klinic Community Health, said in the news release that they are happy to receive this funding to help expand these two programs.

“We are seeing increased demand in both programs as a result of COVID-19’s impact on our community, and this one-time funding will allow us to answer more crisis line calls and to support more clients who want to withdraw from substances,” Chammartin said.

Gordon added that the province is committed to investigating and implementing evidence-based approaches to supporting Manitoba families.

“We have made a number of previous investments at Klinic that are seeing good results and greatly appreciate their hard work on behalf of all Manitobans.”