Youth mental health and substance use supports will be easier and faster to access through a new Foundry BC app.
The app, announced Friday, May 7, will give those aged 12-24, along with their caregivers, access to services like drop-in and scheduled counselling, primary care, peer support and group sessions through their mobile device or an online web portal.
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 – including Foundry Ridge Meadows.
“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 Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions.
“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.”
Now youth needing help and their caregivers will be able 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.
Over the coming year the app will be offering 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.
Approximately $1.6 million was provided by the province 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.
Since the soft launch of the Foundry BC app in early March, until May 4 almost 1,100 youth and families or caregivers have registered on the app. Also more than 1,400 youth, families, or caregivers have completed an appointment through the app and more than 200 future appointments were booked between May 5 and May 28.
“There is nothing more pressing than ensuring children and youth throughout B.C. receive the supports they need to have the greatest chance for success and happiness,” said Mitzi Dean, Minister of Children and Family Development.
“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,” added the minister.
No referrals are required for any Foundry services and they are free and confidential.
The Foundry BC app is available for download through the Apple Store and Google Play store.
The online web portal can be accessed at www.foundrybc.ca/virtual.
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).
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