BC announces expansion of mental health network for youth

Jun 15 2020, 7:34 pm

BC youth and their families will have faster, easier access to mental health and substance use supports with eight new Foundry centres to be developed throughout the province, the government announced on Monday.

Foundry is a province-wide network of integrated health and social service centres for people ages 12 to 24. The centres provide a one-stop shop for young people to access mental healthcare, substance use services, primary care, social services, and youth and family peer supports.

“I am so excited that young people in eight more communities will be able to get quick access to the mental health and substance use services they need and deserve,” said Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Judy Darcy, during the announcement.

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

Darcy said these new locations – as with all Foundry centres – 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.

“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 provincial government said the newest locations for Foundry were chosen after a two-step evaluation process that began in October 2019 with a call for expressions of interest. It also 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 Foundry Executive Director Steve Mathias. “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 centre, Foundry recently launched a new province-wide virtual service accessible by voice, video and chat for young people ages 12 to 24 and their caregivers in British Columbia. Virtual services include drop-in counselling, peer support, and family support. Primary care will soon be included.

Eric ZimmerEric Zimmer

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