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Another 10 Foundry youth centres will open across BC, bringing the total number open or in development to 35.
Youth Mental Health

Foundry youth centres poised for big expansion

by St. Paul's Foundation


This article originally appeared in The Daily Scan.

More young people will have better access to vital health care services closer to home, such as primary care, counselling, early intervention, prevention, and addiction support, with 10 new Foundry centres throughout the province.

That is the largest number of clinics to be announced at the same time since Foundry was launched at St. Paul’s Hospital in 2015.

“There’s nothing more important than helping kids and their families. That’s why we’re making a significant expansion in child and youth health and wellness supports so more young people can get connected to the services they need,” says Jennifer Whiteside, minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “Foundry centres provide a welcoming, stigma-free place where young people can connect to health and wellness supports so they can address mental health and addiction challenges before they become roadblocks.”

The centres are coming to Burnaby, Chilliwack, Nanaimo, Port Alberni, Quesnel, Sooke-Westshore, South Surrey, Vancouver, Vanderhoof, and the West Kootenays. These communities will join the 25 others with Foundry centres that are open or in development, bringing the province’s total to 35 centres. 

Judgment-free health care and social services

“Young people, now more than ever, desperately need safe spaces where they can access mental health, physical health, substance use, and social services without feeling judged or stigmatized,” says Dr. Steve Mathias, Foundry’s executive director.

Dr. Steve Mathias, Foundry’s Executive Director talking about Foundry youth centres
Dr. Steve Mathias, Foundry’s Executive Director

Approximately 75% of serious mental health issues emerge before age 25. The pandemic, global uncertainty, and climate emergencies continue to disproportionately affect young people, resulting in increased rates of depression and anxiety.

Free, confidential services

Foundry youth centres offer young people aged 12 to 24 and their families access to free and confidential services, such as mental health and addiction counselling, physical and sexual health care, peer support, and social services.

The Province continues to build on investments of $236 million in new and expanded addiction care for youth and young adults, including approximately $75 million for Foundry expansion and enhanced services.

While these funds mark a significant step towards extending services to 10 new communities, the Foundry model relies on each community’s capacity to mobilize resources and secure additional funding for center development. On average, establishing a Foundry center requires $4 million, with a substantial portion of this sum sourced from community donors and philanthropists. To discover how you can contribute to the Provincial expansion of Foundry, visit Foundry.

Quick Facts:

17,567 people aged 12 to 24 and their families accessed Foundry youth services in BC in fiscal year 2022-23.

• 14,987 young people who have accessed in-person services at Foundry Centres.

• 2,580 young people who have accessed Foundry Virtual services.

For a list of new Foundry centres and locations, visit here.

To read the full news release on today’s announcement, visit here.