Children's Hospital Foundation (CHF) of Manitoba opens a new outdoor play area for those admitted to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health inpatient unit.

Today in a media release, the CHF announced the opening of a new space for kids to play, exercise and enjoy the outdoors.

"Thanks to our visionary donors, we have added creative, functional and meaningful space to help in the mental health care and treatment of children and adolescents," says Stefano Grande, President and CEO of CHF Manitoba. "This calm and nurturing outdoor environment stands as a testament to the many generous supporters who believe, as we do, that providing the best possible mental health support is key to the wellbeing of children."

There have been a number of initiatives happening in Manitoba to better the province's health services. Such as the CBTm program and the investment of 30 new nursing seats at Red River College Polytechnic.

The play area is a course of action to target children who suffer from mental health problems and illnesses so that they can create better outlets and coping mechanisms at an earlier age. As 70 per cent of mental illnesses are seen during adolescence and childhood.

"A safe and welcoming outdoor area is essential to providing proper care to our patients," says Val Mondor, Mental Health Program Director at Health Sciences Centre (HSC) Winnipeg. "This new space, which includes areas for team sports, independent workouts and yoga, will give kids a place to enjoy the outdoors."

The CHF collected $425,000 worth of donations through the funding of the following donors: Access Credit Union, Aiden Anderson, Ella Anderson, Earl and Cheryl Barish, Bell Let's Talk, Canada Life, Giant Tiger Stores Limited, Red River Co-op, Sports Legacy/Save the Jets (1996) Fund, Gary and Gwen Steiman, In Honour of Dr. Hugh Taylor, Paediatrician, The Thomas Sill Foundation Inc., and the Winnipeg Foundation.

"We really wanted to help create a space that was going to have a positive impact on the kids and teens in the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Program," says Kelly Romas, Director of Marketing for lead donor Red River Co-op. "Hearing the stories of patients using the space for school and for time with their families has made our donation totally worth it."

The patients and their families are grateful for the space as they believe the fresh air is much better than being in a hospital room.

"Visiting outside is comforting, more relaxing and refreshing from being in the hospital room," says one grateful parent. "I know that my child has appreciated the fresh air and the chance to be outdoors in this beautiful space."