© Photo Courtesy of Foundry BC
Psychiatrist Dr. Steve Mathias knew that young people and families across British Columbia struggled to access health and wellness services, but a radio interview in 2012 confirmed the solution. After Dr. Mathias explained his work with an inner-city youth program in Vancouver, a listener in Salmon Arm called and asked if she could drive her daughter there to receive help.
“To think that a family was struggling so much to access services that they’d be willing to drive five hours each way to drop their daughter off in downtown Vancouver to find support…it was inexcusable. I realized then that, as a province, we needed to take a completely different approach to helping our young people before, during, and after crisis. We needed Foundry.”
Foundry is a province-wide network of integrated wellness centres for young people ages 12 to 24 and their caregivers. Each Foundry centre offers free access to mental health and substance use services, physical and sexual health care, youth and family peer support, and social services without the need for referrals. By bringing all these services together in a single place, Foundry makes it easier for young people and their families to find the care, connection, and support they need and deserve.
Between a global pandemic, isolation, employment loss, climate change, the recognition of race inequalities and, in B.C., a toxic drug overdose epidemic, access to services is urgently needed. In Canada, an estimated 70 percent of mental health problems begin during childhood or adolescence. Before the pandemic, 1 in 4 young people aged 15 to 24 reported experiencing mental illness or substance use problems, yet fewer than 25 percent received appropriate services.
Now more than ever, young people and their family members need a place to go where they can feel safe and find the help they need.
Foundry’s integrated services for youth ages 12 to 24 are offered through a partnership-driven, community-based model. Young people and families can easily access support by walking into a Foundry centre, exploring online resources at foundrybc.ca, or downloading the new Foundry BC app.
Foundry is possible because of donor support, meaningful partnerships with government, youth and family engagement, and collaboration with community organizations. Over the past seven years, Foundry has brought over 200 organizations together (and growing) to open 11 centres across B.C., with an additional eight centres in development. With Foundry in more communities and unlimited access to virtual services through the downloadable Foundry BC app, young people and families will no longer have to ask, “Where can we go for help?”
By removing barriers and increasing access, Foundry is transforming youth health and wellness services across B.C. so our young people can focus on what matters the most: living a good life.
To learn more about how you can support the expansion of Foundry or access its services, please visit www.foundrybc.ca
Foundry offers young people ages 12-24 health and wellness resources, services and supports – online and through integrated service centres in communities across BC.