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Mental Health app to help B.C. youth

It doesn’t matter if you’re in Campbell River or Nelson, support is at the touch of your finger.

Youth around B.C. now have faster, easier access to mental health and substance use services and supports through the new Foundry BC app.

It offers people aged 12 to 24 and their caregivers access to services through their mobile device or an online web portal:

Services offered through the app and web portal include drop-in and scheduled counselling, primary care, peer support and group sessions.

Foundry executive director Steve Mathias says they envision all young people in B.C. having the supports they need to live a good life. 

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“The app, designed alongside youth, will make Foundry services easier to find and simpler to access from anywhere. We are grateful to the members of our youth advisory committee, the Province of B.C. and FreshWorks for coming together with our team to make the Foundry BC app possible,”  Mathias added.

“Especially now, as young people navigate the many challenges of COVID-19, this is an important investment in the future of this province.”

“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.”

It allows young people and their caregivers 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.

As with all Foundry services, no referrals are required, and services are free and confidential. 

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).

The province says the app “will continue to evolve over the coming year to offer 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.

“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.”

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 in Abbotsford, Campbell River, Kelowna, Richmond, Ridge Meadows, Terrace, Victoria, Penticton, Prince George and two locations in Vancouver (Granville and the North Shore). 

Work is underway to expand the Foundry model to 19 centres provincewide.

The province has provided roughly $1.6 million to support the Foundry’s virtual services, including the development of the app. 

The app can be downloaded through the Apple Store and Google Play store.

Quick facts

Since the app’s soft launch in early Marchand through to May 4th:

  • almost 1,100 youth and families/caregivers registered on the app;
  • more than 1,400 youth and families/caregivers completed an appointment through the app; and
  • more than 200 future appointments were booked by youth and families/caregivers between May 5 and May 28.
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