Youth who want to help other youth will be able to train for jobs in the health and social-services sector as youth peer-support workers thanks to a new $16.2-million provincial grant.
The funding will expand innovative youth peer support services at Foundry centres throughout BC.
Foundry began in St. Paul’s Hospital in 2015 and continues to grow across BC.
Foundry centres offer health and wellness services for young people between 12 and 24 years and their caregivers.
· mental-health and substance-use support,
· physical and sexual health care,
· youth and family peer support services, and
· social services like employment assistance,
education and facilitating connection to housing.
Help without judgment
Amanda Horne is a youth peer-support worker at Foundry Vancouver Granville.
“As a former client, my youth peer supporter was instrumental in my mental-health journey. I know first-hand how important it is to be able to connect with someone who’s gone through something similar to what I went through, without feeling judged,” she says.
“I’m so grateful to see the expansion of youth peer support services across Foundry centres. The impact of this grant means more investment in youth peer support and inclusive employment opportunities to support young people in their health and wellness journey.”
Peer support at Foundry’s core
Youth peer support is one of the core services offered at Foundry. Peer support is based on the idea that those who have experienced adversity can draw from their own lived experiences to provide support, mentorship and encouragement to others facing similar situations.
“When young people make the courageous decision to reach out for help, we need services to meet them,” says Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “Peer support workers are a critical component of the services Foundry provides. This grant will help youth get the services they need and deserve, as we continue to open more Foundry centres across the province in the months to come.”
Peer support services are a vital and fast-emerging profession in youth-serving health and wellness institutions in B.C. and around the world. They meet the rising wellness needs of young people and increase career entry points for youth facing multiple barriers to employment.
“There lies immeasurable value and hope in meeting someone who has been down a similar road as you, and understands first-hand, what it’s like living through mental-health or substance-use challenges,” says Karen Tee, associate Executive Director of Foundry BC. “The youth peer support program allows those who have gone through adversities to turn around and light a candle for those who might be still finding their way on their wellness journey.”
The provincial grant is for three years and comes from the 2022-23 Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Development Agreement. In addition to funding youth peer support workers, funding will also evaluate the effectiveness of youth peer support as a core service in primary health-care settings for young people.
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
Learn more about peer support training, curriculum and standards of practice B.C. has adopted: https://peerconnectbc.ca/
Foundry services can be accessed by walking into one of 14 (soon to be 23) Foundry community centres, connecting virtually through the Foundry BC app − co-created with youth, for youth − or by exploring online tools and resources at Foundrybc.ca.
To read the full news release from today’s announcement, visit here.