Half of all lifetime cases of mental illness and substance use begin early in life, typically by age 14. Nearly 75 percent of cases present by age 24. Of this population of young people, however, only 25 percent will access treatment.
St. Paul’s is changing this situation to ensure youth across British Columbia thrive.
In 2007, a small team of psychiatrists at St. Paul’s Hospital launched the Inner City Youth (ICY) program – to offer young people better access to primary care, mental health, substance use and social services. ICY accelerated in 2015 with completion of the Granville Youth Health Centre (GYHC), which consolidated the Vancouver program into its own youth-friendly storefront.
Now, young people in Vancouver have easy-to-access integrated services, under one roof, which intervene early and provide support before crises, such as substance use or undiagnosed mental illness, can do lasting damage.
The Granville Youth Health Centre last year saw nearly 8,000 visits (that’s 30 visits a day); and the attendance rate for follow-up services, historically low for the 12-24 age group, is extremely high.
Replicating a successful model
Building on this great and heartening success, friends of St. Paul’s have generously supported the provincial Foundry initiative, which is establishing additional youth centres around the province.
Foundry (previously known as the British Columbia Integrated Youth Services Initiative) was founded in 2015 and has already has been the key change maker. New Foundry centres opening in 2017 include Campbell River, Kelowna, North Vancouver and Prince George, with Abbotsford following in early 2018. And, in February 2017, the Ministry of Health announced funding for an additional five centres across BC.
Foundry will offer mental health and substance use services, primary care, and social services for youth and young adults aged 12 to 24. In collaboration with non-profit and government partners, Foundry is bringing together local community agencies and building on their existing strengths to create accessible, youth-friendly, integrated centres where our young people and their families can go to for help – shifting our model of care to focus on the person before the system, and filling gaps where our youth currently fall through the cracks.
This initiative has been taken on by St. Paul’s Foundation as a key fundraising priority not only because of the urgency and number of youth in need, but also due to the overwhelming success of the Granville Youth Health Centre, which is serving as the model for the new centres.
Today, you have an opportunity to be involved in what will be a profound and life-changing journey for thousands of young people and their families.
We need your support to make this happen. By donating, you will help us grow to more communities and will join hundreds of people from agencies throughout the province working together to create positive change.