Prince George-area MLAs joined with the community today to celebrate the launch of Foundry Prince George, a new integrated youth-service centre.
Foundry will bring existing services under one roof so families and young people can access a one-stop shop for primary-care, mental-health, substance-use, and social services. The centre, for youth between the ages of 12 and 24 years, is hosted by the YMCA of Northern BC and anticipates being fully operational and accepting clients by spring 2017.
“By launching Foundry Prince George, we’re opening doors to youth and families through an integrated and personal approach,” said Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond, who made the announcement on behalf of Health Minister Terry Lake. “We are empowering young people to take charge of their lives and begin the journey to better emotional, physical and mental health.”
“A strong community recognizes how best it can support young people, families and other vulnerable members,” said Mike Morris, MLA for Prince George-Mackenzie. “I understand that we’ve seen success with this approach at the Granville Youth Health Centre in Vancouver, and our hope is that Prince George youth and families experience the same benefits.”
Foundry Prince George is one of the five sites announced in June 2016, as part of a provincial network of easily accessible youth-service centres providing mental-health, substance-use, primary-care and social-services hosted by local 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 and substance use from becoming more serious.
“Foundry will bring together a multitude of existing youth services from our valued partners in Prince George,” said Amanda Alexander, CEO of YMCA of Northern BC. “These partners will come together in one building, working collaboratively to meet youth’s needs. These services will be easy to access, youth friendly, aim at earlier intervention and will work together to ensure that all of a youth’s needs, whether that be mental, physical, emotional or vocational are met.”
An interdisciplinary team offering services at Foundry will be comprised of general practitioners, nurse practitioners, mental-health and substance-use clinicians, youth and family peer support and navigation workers, youth and guardianship workers, income assistance and supported employment support, outreach workers, LGBTQ+ support and navigation, outreach workers, Aboriginal child-service social workers and other Aboriginal services.
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 a $1.5-million investment from the Graham Boeckh Foundation, and commitments from InnerChange Foundation and St. Paul’s Foundation to each fundraise $1.5 million.
The Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research will be providing $800,000 toward the evaluation and research component. The YMCA of Northern BC has initiated a local fundraising campaign with a goal of $250,000 to support the unique capital and innovation needs of Foundry Prince George. The Ministry of Children and Family Development is also investing $255,000 over the next three years to provide space for the centre within the Prince George facility. The Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation will be providing assistance through support staff.
The other Foundry centres announced were North Shore, Kelowna, Campbell River and Abbotsford. By offering easy access to core services the service centres will aim to improve health and social outcomes of young people aged 12 to 24 years.
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 child and youth mental-health services, as well as help for anxiety by giving children tools to cope with anxiety and stress through the school-based FRIENDS program.
- An online service map, launched in 2015, which helps families 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, supported by $850,000 in support from government.
- Specialized mental-health beds at BC Children’s Hospital.