Friday May 7, 2021 | VICTORIA, BC
by Mary P Brooke, B.Sc., Editor | Island Social Trends
Youth and their caregivers around British Columbia now have faster, easier access to mental health and substance use services and supports through the new Foundry BC app.
Co-created by youth for youth, the Foundry BC app offers young people ages 12 to 24 and their caregivers access to integrated health and wellness services through their mobile device or an online web portal: www.foundrybc.ca/virtual
Services offered through the app and web portal include drop-in and scheduled counselling, primary care, peer support and group sessions.
Island MLAs lead the announcement:
Today two Vancouver Island MLAs — Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Sheila Malcolmson (Nanaimo) along with Minister of Children and Family Development, Mitzi Dean (Esquimalt-Metchosin) — led the Foundry BC app announcement as livestreamed on Facebook.
“Our young people were dealing with immense pressures even before the pandemic, but COVID-19 has amplified the stress on their mental health, including increasing anxiety, depression and substance use,” said Malcolmson.
“I’m grateful that today, on Child and Youth Mental Health Day, we are removing more barriers to create faster and easier access to the help youth need. Regardless of where they are in B.C., young people will be able to use the Foundry BC app or web portal to connect to the caring and qualified staff that Foundry centres are known for,” said Malcolmson.
Minister Mitzi Dean, with a long career in child and family services, said today: “The pandemic has affected use in unprecedented ways. We’re now seeing the most toxic drug environments, with an unimaginable number of tragedies. It’s urgent that services can adapt so that youth and families to get the help that they need. To achieve that resiliency each and every day, it’s never been more imp that young people have access to services when, where and how they need them.”
“The virtual services offered by the Foundry – accessible through this app, made by and for youth – will play a key role, matching young people with early interventions to help them overcome challenges and get back on the road to wellness.”
About the app:
At a time when in-person services have been reduced due to COVID-19 safety measures, the Foundry BC app and web portal will allow young people and their caregivers to schedule virtual appointments in advance, access same-day support through messaging, audio or video sessions, join group sessions with peers, and access web-based tools and resources.
As with all Foundry services, no referrals are required, and services are free and confidential. For youth and caregivers who have limited or no access to the internet, Foundry’s provincewide virtual services team also provides support by phone at 1 833 FOUNDRY (1 833 308-6379).
The Foundry app will continue to evolve over the coming year to offer additional services, including new features such as wellness goal setting, medication tracking, employment supports and a “circle of care” program where youth can allow service providers and their caregivers to collaborate online.
The Foundry BC app is available for download through the Apple Store and Google Play store.
Complementing existing services:
The Foundry app and its virtual supports and services broaden Foundry BC’s reach and complement in-person services currently offered through a network of 11 centres throughout the province in Abbotsford, Campbell River, Kelowna, Richmond, Ridge Meadows, Terrace, Victoria, Penticton, Prince George and two locations in Vancouver (Granville and the North Shore). Work is underway to expand the Foundry model to 19 centres provincewide.
The Province has provided approximately $1.6 million to support the Foundry’s virtual services, including the development of the Foundry app. The Foundry model is an integral part of A Pathway to Hope, B.C.’s roadmap for making mental health and addictions care better for people in British Columbia, with a focus on children, youth and young adults.
Working with K-12 schools:
Today the executive director of Foundry BC, Steve Mathias, said that “school counselors are the second-most likely folks” to refer youth to their services.
“Foundry envisions all young people in B.C. having the supports they need to live a good life. The Foundry BC app, designed alongside youth, will make Foundry services easier to find and simpler to access from anywhere. We are grateful to the members of our youth advisory committee, the Province of B.C. and FreshWorks for coming together with our team to make the Foundry BC app possible. Especially now, as young people navigate the many challenges of COVID-19, this is an important investment in the future of this province.”
Since the soft launch of the Foundry BC app in early March 2021 and until May 4, 2021:
- almost 1,100 youth and families/caregivers registered on the app;
- more than 1,400 youth and families/caregivers completed an appointment through the app; and
- more than 200 future appointments were booked by youth and families/caregivers between May 5 and May 28.
===== LINKS (provided by government):
To learn more about the outcome of the Foundry’s first year of provincial virtual service, visit:
To learn more about Foundry, visit: https://foundrybc.ca/
For additional virtual mental health and substance use supports, visit:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/COVID19MentalHealthSupports To learn more about A Pathway to Hope, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/BCMentalHealthRoadmap_2019.pdf