Young people in northeastern B.C. will soon have increased access to much-needed mental-health and substance-use supports, as a Foundry Centre comes to Fort St. John.
Once open, Foundry Fort St. John will offer young people between 12 and 24 youth-friendly, welcoming and appropriate services to fit their unique needs. It will include mental-health and substance use support, drop-in counselling, physical and sexual health care, youth and family peer support and social services.
“Young people have been dealing with immense pressures and health challenges, which have only been made worse as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the toxic-drug crisis and climate-related emergencies,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “A new Foundry Centre for youth in Fort St. John will give young people a safe and judgment-free space to find mental-health, wellness and substance-use supports that meet their needs.”
Foundry Fort St. John, which will be operated by the Fort St. John Friendship Society, is the first of four new centres to be announced in the coming months. Twelve Foundry Centres are open throughout the province, including Vancouver-Granville, North Shore (North Vancouver), Campbell River, Ridge Meadows, Abbotsford, Kelowna, Prince George, Victoria, Penticton, Richmond, Terrace and Comox Valley.
“As Foundry continues to expand, we recognize the increased need to reach young people and those who care for them in communities across B.C.,” said Dr. Steve Mathias, executive director, Foundry. “The opening of Foundry in Fort St. John advances our shared vision to transform mental-health and substance-use supports in our province. We’re so excited to welcome Fort St. John to growing our network of Foundry centres.”
An additional seven new Foundry centres have also been announced in Burns Lake, East Kootenay, Langley, Port Hardy, Sea to Sky (Squamish), Surrey and Cariboo-Chilcotin (Williams Lake). When complete, there will be 23 Foundry centres provincewide. In addition, Foundry’s services can be accessed from anywhere in the province through the Foundry BC app, website or by phone.
Enhancing supports for youth living with mental-health and substance-use challenges is an integral part of A Pathway to Hope, B.C.’s roadmap for building the comprehensive system of mental-health and addictions care that British Columbians deserve.
Anita Lee, executive director, Fort St. John Friendship Society –
“This is such a significant investment in our community, and the young people and families who will receive the services and support they deserve and the hope for a brighter future. We have a lot of work ahead of us as an organization, and we look forward to working with Foundry central, our partner organizations, and youth and family members to see Foundry Fort St. John through to reality.”
Lori Ackerman, mayor, Fort St. John –
“Our future lies squarely on the shoulders of our youth. Providing them with the resources and supports for a healthy life is without a doubt essential, so this announcement of a Foundry in Fort St. John is very welcome. The diligence of the staff and board of the Fort St. John Friendship Society in keeping this project in the forefront is to be commended. Hard work has paid off.”
Jean McFadden, parent –
“As a parent of a youth who has battled mental-health and substance-use issues, I am very excited to hear that a Foundry is coming to Fort St. John. I am well aware of the lack of support for youth and parents, the difficulty in accessing services and the lack of service integration. The Foundry model of practice offers systemic change that will provide low-barrier access, drop-in support and an integrated approach across many health disciplines. Timely access to the right services for youth and families in a single setting will save lives.”
Cassidy Stewart, youth –
“For years, I have seen and experienced first-hand the lack of resources and support, not only for our youth, but for everyone in Fort St. John facing trouble with mental illness and addiction. It is my hope, and honest belief, that Foundry will help to build a better future here by allocating more resources to our youth, and therefore affording others a better chance at receiving the help that they themselves need and deserve. Today, I can say that I am truly proud of how far we have come as a community, and that I am thrilled to see where we might go from here.”
Learn about A Pathway to Hope, government’s vision for mental-health and addictions care in B.C.: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021MMHA0049-001787