Canadian Mental Health Association Saskatchewan Wins Award For Innovative Program

Afroza Hossain

Canada’s premiers today announced the recipients of an award for excellence in mental health and addictions care. Presented in each province and territory, the Council of the Federation (COF) Award for Innovation in Mental Health and Addictions Care recognizes people and organizations excelling in the field.

The Saskatchewan Division of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA-SK) has been named the province’s winner for Mentally Safe Minecraft Server, a monitored game server for the popular game Minecraft that combats cyberbullying and its impact on mental health. Supported by CMHA-SK, the program was created and programmed by Saskatchewan youth with mental health challenges.

“On behalf of Premier Scott Moe, I congratulate the team that created the Mentally Safe Minecraft Service, with the support of CMHA Saskatchewan, for finding a unique way to reach kids through online gaming while promoting mental health and well-being,” Mental Health and Addictions Minister Everett Hindley said. “Working with our partners, our government is committed to supporting high-quality mental health and addictions services for Saskatchewan residents.”

CMHA-SK has added a specific chat area to the program that enables youth to ask a mental health worker questions about mental health or how to access services. Saskatchewan helplines have been added and a space for virtual groups to gather and learn about mental health tools. In addition, a mental health tip appears on the corner of the screen every ten minutes, and there are creative events to celebrate Mental Health Week and challenge players’ creativity.

Each province’s recipient receives a one-time award of $5,000 to advance their initiative and to encourage further innovation. Provinces and territories will share best practices so all Canadians can benefit from innovations in mental health and addictions care.

“CMHA Saskatchewan is pleased to have our Mentally Safe Minecraft Server recognized as innovative in the field of mental health and addictions care,” CMHA-SK Director of Advocacy, Research and Public Policy Development Rebecca Rackow said. “We have a very supportive community of gamers and mental health workers who take care of each other and provide a safe gaming environment when the internet is often uncertain and difficult.”

The Council of the Federation comprises all 13 provincial and territorial premiers. It enables premiers to work collaboratively and show leadership on issues that are important to Canadians.

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