New Foundry centres improve access to vital services for youth

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 Surrey, Langley, Burns Lake, Comox Valley, Cranbrook, Squamish, 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:

* Surrey: Pacific Community Resources Society

* Langley: Encompass Support Services Society

* Burns Lake: Carrier Sekani Family Services

* Comox Valley: John Howard Society of North Island

* Cranbrook: Ktunaxa-Kinbasket Child and Family Service Society

* Squamish: Sea to Sky Community Services 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.

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