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HomeRegional NewsNewsBetter youth and mental health supports coming to West Kootenays

Better youth and mental health supports coming to West Kootenays

The BC government hopes that the addition of 10 new Foundry centers in the province will improve accessibility to mental health and substance abuse disorders for young people and their families.

The provincial announcement on Monday revealed that one of the 10 new centers will be in the West Kootenay region, although the exact location has yet to be determined.

Foundry, according to its website, is a network of integrated health and wellness services for young people aged 12-24.

The province stated in a press release that these centers offer a welcoming, stigma-free environment for young people to connect with health and wellness supports to address mental health and addiction challenges before they become significant obstacles.

The addition of these 10 centers will bring the provincial count up to 35. Other municipalities set to benefit include Quesnel, Port Alberni, Chilliwack, Vancouver, Burnaby, Nanaimo, Sooke-Westshore, and South Surrey.

The new facilities are part of a larger $236 million provincial investment committed to building and expanding addiction care for youth and young adults. $75 million will support the establishment of the 10 new centers, with $1.5 million specifically allocated for a new Foundry in the West Kootenay region.

Kootenay West MLA Katrine Conroy expressed in a statement that the new Foundry in the Kootenays will ensure young people are set up for lifelong success.

“As a mom and a grandmother, I know how challenging the teenage and young adult years can be. Having care and support geared towards young people at this new Foundry center will help ensure that challenges are addressed early, and that youth are set up for lifelong success.”

According to the province, 75 percent of serious mental health issues emerge before the age of 25. The ongoing pandemic, global uncertainty, and climate emergencies continue to disproportionately affect young people and increase anxiety and depression rates.

No further information has been provided on when West Kootenay communities will benefit from the addition of the new center, but MLA Conroy said that the location will be determined through a community and youth engagement process.

The province reports that more than 17,000 young people aged 12 to 24 accessed Foundry services in 2022-23, with the majority receiving in-person assistance at a Foundry Centre.

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