North Vancouver, BC – When Yvana Avram began experiencing suicidal thoughts in high school, she knew something was wrong. “It wasn’t normal, I was feeling really low and sad,” she says. Yvana went with her gut, sought help, and is now a peer support worker at Foundry North Shore, an integrated centre for young people age 12 to 24 that recently opened in North Vancouver. Foundry brings more than 15 existing programs and services under one roof so families and young people like Yvana can access primary care, mental health and social services.
“The opening of Foundry North Shore is a beacon of hope for our young people,” says Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “If we can address mental health and addiction issues earlier on in life, we can save lives. I know that bringing all these services under one roof will help young people get help when they need it, no matter what brings them through the door.”
Foundry North Shore is comprised of a team of general practitioners, nurse practitioners, occupational therapists, mental health and substance use clinicians, and youth and family peer-support and navigation workers. Income assistance, housing and employment services are also available on site at 211 West 1st Street in North Vancouver.
Later this year, young people with substance use issues will be able to access opioid agonist therapy (Suboxone). Other treatment and harm reduction services are also available at Foundry North Shore. “The low-barrier nature of this centre means youth can drop in, have a chat and perhaps come back when they are more motivated,” says Dr. Jordan Cohen, a VCH psychiatrist working at Foundry. “Just walking in the door is a brave step.”
“Foundry is about transforming access to care and ensuring young people get the help they need when they need it, says Dr. Steve Mathias, Executive Director, Foundry. “By offering welcoming one-stop shops with a variety of wellness services, we want to remove the stigma of seeking help and reach young people early on – before small problems become big ones.”
“Youth in crisis don’t have time to make appointments and wait for referrals,” says Yvana. “I would encourage young people who feel like something is wrong to get help.” Trust yourself, she says; “Your life is worth it.”
Hosted by Providence Health Care, Foundry is supported by the Government of British Columbia, Graham Boeckh Foundation, Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research and St. Paul’s Foundation.
“Foundry North Shore is part of a growing provincial network of integrated youth service-centres,” says Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. “By providing our young people with the wellness tools they need to thrive, we are making an important investment in our future.”
Vancouver Coastal Health provides $2.5 million in annual funding to help operate Foundry North Shore. The provincial government contributes $500,000 and more than a dozen community partners provide support and services in kind including: Canadian Mental Health Association, Family Services of the North Shore, YWCA of the North Shore, City of North Vancouver, District of North Vancouver, Parkgate Community Services, Capilano Community Services, Hollyburn Family Services, and North Shore Neighbourhood House.
Foundry North Shore supports the work of the new Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions established in 2017 and the Joint Task Force on Overdose Response established in 2016. As part of the wide range of actions taken, partners across the health system continue to expand access to life-saving naloxone and opioid addiction medications and treatments such as Suboxone, open more overdose prevention sites, work with Health Canada on approvals to open additional supervised consumption sites and improve the system of substance use services.
VCH is responsible for the delivery of $3.3 billion in community, hospital and residential care to more than one million people in communities including Richmond, Vancouver, the North Shore, Sunshine Coast, Sea to Sky corridor, Powell River, Bella Bella and Bella Coola.
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Vancouver Coastal Health
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