Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, many children and youth in BC are experiencing increased anxiety, stress and other mental health challenges. Foundry has worked quickly to implement innovative virtual solutions for youth and families/caregivers living in BC (learn more in this overview of Foundry’s COVID-19 response to date).
Last spring, we launched virtual services using interim technology, and in early April 2020, Foundry Virtual BC began offering services to young people and families/caregivers across the province through the Foundry BC app, which was co-created with and for youth.
The app offers a user-friendly, accessible way to schedule virtual counselling and peer support appointments in advance, as well as access same-day support via messaging, audio or video sessions, peer group sessions, and web-based tools and resources. No referrals or assessments required.
Here are some of our learnings one year later (taken from Frayme’s report):
- Foundry’s provincial virtual service filled a gap for youth and their families/caregivers who otherwise may not have accessed services.
- The soft launch of the Foundry BC app has already changed the way youth and families/caregivers access services virtually in BC.
- Breaking down barriers to access and advancements in technology have led to increased youth engagement with Foundry Virtual BC.
- With the rapid launch of Foundry Virtual BC, youth in BC have been able to access multiple services to address their needs and improve their outcomes.
- Foundry’s provincial virtual service is reaching high risk and high-needs youth across BC.
- BC youth and families/caregivers are having positive experiences with Foundry Virtual BC technology, services and staff.
- Foundry’s provincial virtual service team has gained valuable insight for quality improvement opportunities and innovations in virtual care.
Since launching virtual services, Foundry has received positive feedback from youth.
“My peer supporter really knows me by now and is able to make really personalized suggestions.”
“I was diagnosed with a disorder that now allows me to begin receiving treatment.”
“It allowed me to talk about how I was feeling, ask for coping mechanisms, and say personal things.”
Foundry Virtual BC offers virtual counselling sessions by voice, video and chat (including booked appointments and walk-ins); peer support (including one-on-one services and peer lead groups); and groups and workshops for young people and their families/caregivers.
The Foundry BC app is available through the Apple Store, Google Play store or on desktop through a web portal.
Keywords: mental health, anxiety, stress, peer support, counselling