New Foundry centres improve access to vital services for youth

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Youth around British Columbia and their families will have faster, easier access to mental health and substance use services and supports with eight new Foundry centres to be developed throughout the province.

The new Foundry centres will be in Burns Lake, Comox Valley, Cranbrook, Langley, Squamish, Surrey, Port Hardy and Williams Lake.

The new locations, as with all Foundry centres, will offer increased access to integrated health and wellness services for young people aged 12 to 24 in both rural and urban communities. Each centre will offer primary care, youth and family peer supports, walk-in counselling, mental health and substance use services, and social services all under one roof, making it easier for youth to get help when they need it.

“I am so excited that young people in eight more communities in rural and urban B.C. will be able to get quick access to the mental health and substance use services they need and deserve,” said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “With COVID-19 impacting the mental health of young people in a big way, and with the overdose crisis continuing, it’s more important than ever that they have quick access to the excellent supports that Foundry provides.”

The eight new Foundry centres will be opened and operated by the following local, community-based lead agencies:

  • Burns Lake: Carrier Sekani Family Services
  • Comox Valley: John Howard Society of North Island
  • Cranbrook: Ktunaxa-Kinbasket Child and Family Service Society
  • Langley: Encompass Support Services Society
  • Squamish: Sea to Sky Community Services Society
  • Surrey: Pacific Community Resources Society
  • Port Hardy: North Island Crisis and Counselling Centre Society
  • Williams Lake: Cariboo Chilcotin Child Development Centre Association

“A new Foundry within a community is a sign that lets young people know there’s a place just for them where they can get the support they need, right where they live,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. “Child and youth mental health workers at Foundry centres play a key role, matching young people with early interventions to help them take on challenges and get back on the road to wellness.”

The new locations were chosen after a two-step evaluation process. The process began in October 2019 with a call for expressions of interest and included several independent panels, a two-day in-person convening session, a second written submission and phone and in-person interviews with representatives from interested community organizations.

“We were inspired by the communities that participated in the expansion process to identify the next eight lead agencies,” said Steve Mathias, executive director, Foundry. “Communities from all over B.C., urban, rural and remote, felt that this was something that their youth and families needed and wanted. We look forward to our network growing to 19 centres and eventually seeing the great impact these Foundry centres will have on youth, families, care providers and communities.”

For youth and families not living near a Foundry centre, Foundry recently launched a new provincewide virtual service accessible by voice, video and chat for young people ages 12-24 and their caregivers in British Columbia. Foundry’s virtual services include drop-in counselling, peer support and family support, and will soon include primary care.

The Foundry model is an integral part of A Pathway to Hope, B.C.’s roadmap for making mental health and addictions care better for people in British Columbia. Implementing A Pathway to Hope is a shared priority with the BC Green Party caucus and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.

Quotes:

Michelle Shaw, director of operations, Fraser South, Pacific Community Resources Society —

“We are stronger and better when we do things together – a Foundry centre in Surrey, developed in partnership with Surrey youth, families and service providers will create seamless access to the services, connections and early interventions needed to support wellness.”

Jessica Soule, provincial youth advisor, Foundry 

“Integrated and accessible services are essential for wellness. These new Foundry centres will provide hope for thousands of youth. Over the past four years, Foundry has led the movement towards a better, healthier British Columbia by chipping away at the shame and blame that controlled the conversation around mental health and addictions for so long.”

Laila Ferreira, provincial family advisor, Foundry 

“As a parent with lived experience, I know first-hand that when a young person lives with mental health or substance use challenges, it impacts the entire family. Foundry’s integrated model ensures families, whether natural or chosen, are connected to available and welcoming programs and resources that assist them in supporting the health of their youth and family. I am optimistic that the opening of these eight new centres across B.C. will provide much needed support, connection and hope to youth and the families that love them.”