Mental Health Youth Mental Health

Foundry Comox opens its doors to young people

Foundry BC started out of St. Paul's Hospital
Foundry Vancouver Granville (photo taken before COVID-19). Photo: Jeff Topham

Young people living in the Comox Valley and surrounding areas will soon have access to new mental health, wellness and substance-use services with the opening of Foundry Comox Valley.

Foundry Comox Valley will provide young people between the ages of 12 and 24, along with their families, free and confidential age-friendly and supportive health, wellness, and substance-use services to fit their needs in their own community.

COVID-19 has increased pressure on young people

“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,” says Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “With the opening of Foundry Comox Valley, more young people will be able to get health, wellness and substance-use supports that meet their needs.”

Original centre begun at St. Paul’s Hospital expands to network of 12

Foundry Comox Valley is the 12th Foundry centre to open in British Columbia and will be operated by The John Howard Society of North Island in collaboration with community partners. The centre will provide mental-health and substance-use services to young people, as well as primary and sexual health care, youth and family peer support, and social services.

Foundry began in St. Paul’s Hospital in 2015 and has grown into a network of care for young people across the province.

“We’re so heartened by the commitment of the Foundry Comox Valley team to ensuring that its young people and those who care for them have access to health and wellness services,” says Steve Mathias, executive director, Foundry. “A lot of work and engagement of young people and families goes into building and operating these centres. What you see today is a testament to an incredible commitment by the community to this new centre.”

Steve Mathias, executive director, Foundry

BC government, other partners to fund Foundry Comox

The provincial government is providing annual funding toward operations and services at Foundry Comox Valley, and has provided one-time funding of $800,000 toward the establishment of the centre. The John Howard Society of North Island is raising the remaining $1.4 million required for the centre’s establishment with support from the Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island and many community champions.

Seven more Foundry centres being developed

In addition to the Foundry Comox Valley centre, there are 11 centres open throughout the province, in Vancouver-Granville, North Shore (North Vancouver), Campbell River, Ridge Meadows, Abbotsford, Kelowna, Prince George, Victoria, Penticton, Richmond and Terrace.

Seven other Foundry centres are in development in Burns Lake, East Kootenay (Cranbrook), Langley, Port Hardy, Sea to Sky (Squamish), Surrey and Cariboo-Chilcotin (Williams Lake). In addition, Foundry virtual services can be accessed from anywhere in the province through the Foundry BC app or website, or by phone.

Enhancing supports for youth living with mental-health and substance-use needs 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.

Read the full Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions news release on Foundry Comox Valley here.