Foundry and Canucks Autism Network (CAN) are excited to offer a new initiative to equip youth peer supporters with training to better support Autistic youth in need of mental health services.
Foundry provides young people in BC, ages 12-24, and their caregivers access to integrated health and wellness services, including mental health, substance use, physical & sexual healthcare, and social services through Foundry centres or the Foundry BC App. Canucks Autism Network (CAN) provides programs for individuals on the autism spectrum and their families, while promoting acceptance and inclusion through community engagement and training initiatives across BC and beyond.
This partnership will provide Foundry BC’s youth peer supporters access to an online training module, co-developed by CAN, to better understand the unique needs of Autistic youth, using Foundry’s existing peer support curriculum as a foundation. This training was developed with direct input from subject matter experts engaged in professional clinical practice who directly support the mental health needs of Autistic individuals, Youth Peer Support Workers in the Foundry network, and Autistic self-advocates and job seekers engaged with CAN through Ready, Willing and Able (RWA) and other CAN services.
We can’t wait to see how this initiative, in addition to the recent MSDPR provincial grant for development of the youth peer support program, will impact mental health support for the autism community in BC!
In a resource scan done by CAN and Autism Nova Scotia in 2021, lack of autism trainings and resources was identified as a significant barrier Autistic individuals face when accessing mental health resources.
Here’s what we know:
- 92% of Autistic youth & adults indicated a need for support, but only 40% indicated they had adequate access to services.
- Autistic youth & adults are seven times more likely to attempt suicide than non-Autistic individuals.
- 66% of newly-diagnosed Autistic adults have reported feeling suicidal.
- Autistic youth and adults are at greater risk of substance misuse and addiction than non-Autistic individuals.
- Approximately 70% of Autistic people experience at least one co-occurring mental health issue.
We would like to acknowledge Ready, Willing and Able (RWA) who provided funding for this training. RWA is a national partnership of Inclusion Canada and the Autism Alliance of Canada and their member organizations. RWA is designed to increase the labour force participation of people with an intellectual disability or on the autism spectrum.