Youth clinics have opened or are opening in Campbell River, Kelowna, Prince George, Abbotsford, and the North Shore
Kyrsten Downton, Contributor
Thanks to new funding, Foundry B.C.’s mental health clinics will be expanding across the province to provide easier access to youth in need.
In December of last year, the provincial government announced that it was providing $3 million to open five new clinics. Foundry’s goal is to eventually open up 25 new clinics across B.C.
“The announcement for the new funds came before we thought it would, which of course, we were excited about,” says Foundry Policy and Partnership Director Pamela Liversidge.
Campbell River is the first of the five locations to open their clinic, and the Kelowna, Prince George, Abbotsford and the North Shore clinics are expected to open by the end of the year. In 2015, Foundry B.C opened its first prototype clinic in Vancouver.
“We were amazed and overwhelmed with the level of engagement and excitement for development within those communities,” says Liversidge.
Foundry B.C specifically focuses on youth aged 12 to 24, which is a critical time for any person dealing with addiction or mental health issues who are in a vulnerable and transitional stage of their lives. Studies have shown that 70 per cent of people who suffer from issues of mental health begin to develop those issues during childhood or adolescence.
“There is nothing that’s developmentally appropriate for those young people aged 17 to 24. We know often that if they were receiving services in child and youth mental health, once they age out of care, they are not received well in the adult system. We want to intervene earlier so we can help support them to live healthier lives before it can get really serious,” says Liversidge.
If someone is in need of services offered at one of the Foundry clinics, they will need a referral from a doctor or loved one, or a self-referral, first. One of the biggest challenges Foundry is currently addressing is long wait periods for those seeking help, but Liversidge also ensures that youth can expect to receive a high standard of inclusive health care.
“Every clinic will have certain walk-in hours every week for both primary care and counselling. If a young person is really in a crisis, they can come on in and expect to see somebody. Other times they can come in and get set up for an appointment within a couple of days,” says Liversidge.
Youth and local community officials were consulted on development of the new clinics. This consultation included the interior design and overall care and services that will be provided by Foundry For instance, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or religion, Foundry will provide you with the best possible care for your unique needs.
“We were really trying to walk that line between ensuring there is enough consistency of evidence-based care and standards and the experience that is created for the young people,” says Liversidge. “We want it to be a very welcoming, warm and inclusive environment balanced with ensuring that communities are meeting their unique needs.”