Home Sections Youth Westshore-Sooke gets youth Foundry services

Westshore-Sooke gets youth Foundry services

Services will be provided through Thrive: site still to be identified and staff training required.

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Monday March 4, 2024 | SOOKE, BC [Updated March 5, 2024]

by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

More young people will have access to vital health care services including primary care, counselling, early intervention, prevention and addictions supports closer to home with a new Foundry centre on the way on the West Shore.

jennifer whiteside, foundry, podium
Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, announcing new foundry locations, Mar 4, 2024. [BC Govt]

That provincial government news came today as part of the announcement of 10 new Foundry centres, bringing the total across BC to 35 centres. There are 25 other communities with centres that are already open or in development across B.C. To note, the 35 total was previously announced in April 2023.

“Young people struggling with mental health and addictions and their families urgently need support,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. She described the Foundry centres as “integrated systems of care”, said Whiteside last year.

jennifer whiteside
Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, April 19, 2023. [Hansard]

The Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions stated today that communities and operating agencies were selected based on key considerations including regional representation; proximity of existing centres; service provider readiness and capacity; and applicants’ values as they related to cultural agility, justice and equity.

Anxiety in youth:

According to the BC NDP government today, approximately 75 per cent of serious mental health issues emerge before age 25, and the pandemic, global uncertainty, and climate emergencies continue to disproportionately impact young people, resulting in increased rates of depression and anxiety.

2024 list:

Today’s new list is for centres to be opened in Burnaby, Chilliwack, Nanaimo, Port Alberni, Quesnel, Sooke-Westshore, South Surrey, Vancouver, Vanderhoof and the West Kootenays.

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Sooke and west shore:

Local MLAs Mitzi Dean (Esquimalt-Metchosin) and Ravi Parmar (Langford-Juan de Fuca) are pleased about today’s announcement.

Dean is currently the Minister of State for Child Care and Parmar is currently the Parliamentary Secretary for International Credentials (within the Ministry of Post-Secondary and Future Skills).

ravi parmar, mitzi dean
West shore MLAs Ravi Parmar and Mitzi Dean (file photo: May 2023)

Sooke/West Shore has been awarded $1.5 million in provincial funding for a Foundry centre. The centre will be operated by a team of social service professionals through the Thrive charitable organization which is based on McKenzie Avenue in Victoria.

“Youth in Sooke and the West Shore will be able to find help when they need it with the creation of a new Foundry centre,” said Mitzi Dean, MLA for Esquimalt-Metchosin. “This will be another service to help ensure young people and their families can thrive here in our region.”

Lead agencies and communities will begin working immediately to engage with partners, interested parties and residents, says a BC NDP caucus rep. But it will still be a while until the centre is up and running. A site still needs to be identified, building permits must be secured, and staff must be hired and trained.

thrive, social services
Thrive organization of social service professionals.

Stigma-free space:

“When you’re in need of care, a welcoming, stigma-free space can make all the difference,” said Parmar. “For young people in our community, having a Foundry in their area will mean they will know where to turn when it’s most important.”

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Foundry centres are a critical part of the province’s work to address this increasing need for supports by offering young people ages 12 to 24 and their families access to free and confidential services including mental health and addiction counselling, physical and sexual health care, peer support and social services.


In fiscal year 2022-23, there were 17,567 youth ages 12 to 24 and their families who accessed Foundry services in BC.

  • In-person participation was 14,987 young people.
  • Virtual services were accessed by 2,580 young people.


The Province continues to build on Budget 2023 investments of $236 million in new and expanded addictions care for youth and young adults, including almost $75 million for Foundry expansion and enhanced services.

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===== RELATED:

YMCA youth mental health support program gets BC funding (September 8, 2023)

12 more Foundry centres for youth mental health support (April 13, 2023)