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Championing Mental Health and Addiction Care for All Manitobans

January 9, 2024

Meet our 2024 Innovation HSC Radiothon Department Champion: Dr. Jitender Sareen, MD, FRCPC

Dr. Jitender Sareen, MD, FRCPC; photo sourced from Shared Health.

Mental health and substance use issues affect an increasing number of Manitobans, and the professional help needed to support those individuals is getting harder to find in a timely manner.

That’s what drove Dr. Jitender Sareen and his colleagues to develop the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with mindfulness (CBTm) program, a now nationally recognized goal-oriented form of psychotherapy.

The main goal of the CBTm program is to make evidence-based treatment more accessible to individuals needing mental health and addictions care by helping people build mental health skills, resilience, and coping mechanisms. Participants in the CBTm program have been shown to have a 20–30% reduction in symptoms, including anxiety and depressive symptoms. Without this program, which can be offered in-person or online, access to care could take up to a year. The CBTm program is not only focused on treating mental health issues, but also on preventing them. Most recently, the program has been adapted for health care workers, public safety personnel, youth, and a variety of populations.

“There will never be enough psychiatrists or psychologists, so we had to come up with an innovative way to provide more care for more people,” says Dr. Sareen, Shared Health’s Provincial Specialty Lead of Mental Health and Addictions. “Early and appropriate access to mental health services really can be lifesaving.”

While he has done extensive work into providing more accessible mental health care, Dr. Sareen has also dedicated time into researching suicide prevention in First Nations communities, and for military personnel, veterans, and other individuals experiencing trauma. He has also conducted research into the barriers to care for veterans and the public and was a part of the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s Homelessness study, which showed that treating housing issues first was an important intervention for people with mental illness who were living on the streets.

“Mental health and addictions impact almost everyone in our society to some degree. We need new research as well as quality improvement initiatives so that we can take the best science and make it available to our patients,” says Dr. Sareen.

That is why Dr. Sareen is proud to serve as the 2024 Innovation HSC Radiothon Department Champion and to rally his colleagues to join him in supporting HSC Winnipeg, Manitoba’s hospital. Funds donated will support vital initiatives throughout HSC.


The HSC Department Champion provides a personal lead gift that inspires other clinical leaders to follow suit. For more information on the 2024 Innovation HSC Radiothon, presented by Maric Homes, please click here.