Premier Christy Clark, MLA for Westside-Kelowna,  joined the community today to celebrate the launch of Foundry Kelowna, a new integrated youth-service centre.

The centre will bring existing services under one roof so families and young people can access a ‘one-stop shop’ for primary care, mental health and substance use, and social services.

“Asking for help is hard, but getting it shouldn’t be,” said Premier Clark. “By launching this centre, we’re making it as easy as possible for youth and families to take charge of their health by providing a variety of services through an integrated and personal approach.”

“This approach has been very successful at the Granville Youth Health Centre in Vancouver, and we look forward to Kelowna youth and families experiencing the same growth, learning opportunities and support,” said Health Minister Terry Lake.

Foundry Kelowna is one of the centres announced in June 2016 as part of a provincial network of easily accessible, youth-friendly mental-health, substance-use, primary-care and social-service sites hosted by local non-profit organizations. This model will allow for earlier therapeutic interventions, when mental-health problems are just emerging. Intervening early can help to prevent challenges with mental health from becoming more serious.

“Many youth who struggle with mental-health challenges and other complex issues face significant barriers to getting the help they need,” said Minister of Children and Family Development Stephanie Cadieux. “This new centre will provide vulnerable youth with a comfortable, safe and welcoming space where they can easily access the essential services they need in order to improve their health and their lives.”

The other centres announced were North Shore, Prince George, Campbell River and Abbotsford, which are all working with community partners on their own upcoming launches. The centres will offer easy access to core services including primary care, mental health and substance use, youth and family navigation supports, housing, supported employment, income assistance and education supports. Access to integrated services will help improve the health and social outcomes of young people aged 12 to 24 years in the community.

“We are so inspired by the level of collaboration in our community to ensure young people and families get access to help that will make all the difference in the trajectory of their lives. We know when you intervene early and reduce barriers, the outcomes for citizens are so much better,” said Shelagh Turner, executive director of the Canadian Mental Health Association Kelowna Branch, lead agency for Foundry Kelowna.

Foundry Kelowna, hosted by the Canadian Mental Health Association-Kelowna Branch, anticipates being fully operational and accepting clients by spring 2017.

The Canadian Mental Health Association Kelowna Branch has partnered with the Kelowna General Hospital Foundation to raise a further $2 million dollars over the next three years to ensure Foundry Kelowna meets the unique needs in the local community.

The Ministry of Health provided $3 million to the InnerChange Foundation in March 2015 to develop the centres, and the centres are supported by additional partner funding. This includes support from the Graham Boeckh Foundation and commitments from InnerChange Foundation and St. Paul’s Foundation.

The new health and social-service centres add to existing provincial supports to address the needs of young people living with substance use issues and/or mental illness. These services include:

  • Community-based children and youth mental-health services, with help for anxiety by providing children the tools they need to cope with anxiety and stress through the school-based FRIENDS program.
  • An online service map, launched in 2015, which helps families more easily find information about the child and youth mental health and substance use services in their community.
  • The F.O.R.C.E. Society, which works to connect families with the support systems, services or programs that may help children and families deal with mental health challenges, with $850,000 in support from government.
  • Specialized mental-health beds at BC Children’s Hospital.

The Ministry of Health spends approximately $1.4 billion every year on mental-health and substance-use services. To make sure British Columbia’s range of mental-health and substance-use programs work effectively together, the Province is developing an integrated, cross-government mental-health and substance-use strategy for British Columbia. The goal of the strategy is to address key gaps in the current system and ensure individuals and families can access support services early, before they find themselves in a crisis.