NORTH VANCOUVER – A new $16 million provincial grant has been accorded to Foundry centres across B.C., to promote the province-wide development of youth peer support services and inclusive employment opportunities for young people in the health and social services sector.
Foundry offers multiple integrated health and wellness services for young people aged 12-24 and their caregivers in B.C. Foundry centres provide mental health and substance use support, physical and sexual health care, youth and family peer support services, as well as social services like employment assistance, education and facilitating connection to housing.
Youth peer support is one of many core services offered at Foundry. Peer support is based on the idea that those who have experienced adversity can draw from their own lived experiences to provide support, mentorship and encouragement to others facing similar situations. Youth peer support workers provide inclusive, safe and empathetic support to young people, and serve as a catalyst for young people to keep pursuing their journey of wellness and healing.
“Peer support workers provide a role model for youth facing mental health and substance use challenges,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “There is a shortage of workers in health care and social services and there is a growing number of young people with depression, anxiety, and problematic substance use. This program is designed to support youth in overcoming barriers to employment and turn lived experience into work experience.”
The provincial funding grant is based on a three-year timeline and will be used to evaluate the efficacy of youth peer support as a core service in primary health care settings for young people. Peer support services are a vital and fast-emerging profession in youth-serving health and wellness agencies in B.C. and around the world. They meet the rising wellness needs of young people, in addition to increasing career entry points for youth struggling to find employment. for youth facing multiple personal and systemic barriers to employment.
Foundry services can be accessed by walking into one of 14 (soon to be 23) Foundry community centres, connecting virtually through the Foundry BC app – co-created with youth, for youth – or by exploring online tools and resources at foundrybc.ca.
Continually enhancing health and wellness supports for young people living with mental health and substance use needs is an integral part of A Pathway to Hope strategy, B.C.’s roadmap for building a comprehensive and integrated system of mental health and substance use support for British Columbians.
To learn more, click on the News Release HERE.
Amanda Horne, youth peer support worker, Foundry Vancouver-Granville
“As a former client, my youth peer supporter was instrumental in my mental health journey. I know first-hand how important it is to be able to connect with someone who’s gone through something similar as me, without feeling judged. I’m so grateful to see the expansion of youth peer support services across Foundry centers. The impact of this grant means more investment in youth peer support and inclusive employment opportunities to support young people in their health and wellness journey.”
Karen Tee, Associate Executive Director, Foundry
“There lies immeasurable value and hope in meeting someone who has been down a similar road as you, and understands first-hand, what it’s like living through mental-health or substance-use challenges. The youth peer support program allows those who have gone through adversities to turn around and light a candle for those who might be still finding their way on their wellness journey.”
Learn about A Pathway to Hope, government’s vision for mental-health and addictions care in B.C.: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021MMHA0049-001787
Learn more about peer support training, curriculum and standards of practice B.C. has adopted: https://peerconnectbc.ca/
Foundry services can be accessed by walking into one of 14 (soon to be 23) Foundry community centres, connecting virtually through the Foundry BC app – co-created with youth, for youth – or by exploring online tools and resources at: https://foundrybc.ca/