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Foundry Port Hardy begins offering services to young people

Satellite services are also being planned for Port McNeill to help more youth
The Foundry centre in Port Hardy on Market Street. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)

Young people on the north end of Vancouver Island now have faster and easier access to much-needed mental-health and addiction supports.

Foundry Port Hardy has begun providing services in the community. Port Hardy is the first rural community to open a Foundry centre in British Columbia.

“Every young person in British Columbia deserves health-care services that meets their unique needs, including access to primary care, mental-health and addictions support,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “Foundry Port Hardy will make it easier for young people and their families to get the help they need, right in their own community.”

Foundry Port Hardy offers young people between the ages of 12 and 24 and their families free, confidential, age-friendly and supportive services, such as drop-in counselling, peer support and physical and sexual health care to fit their unique needs. North Island Crisis and Counselling Centre, which operates Foundry Port Hardy, will provide these services at an interim location at 2-7053 Market St. as planning for the centre’s permanent site continues. Satellite services are also being planned for Port McNeill to help more youth in the North Island communities have easier access to care.

“When youth have access to mental-health, substance-use and other supports in their community, it can make a big difference in their lives – not just when they’re in crisis but into their futures,” said Mitzi Dean, Minister of Children and Family Development. “Port Hardy and nearby communities will soon join 15 other locations in the province with local access to the suite of youth-focused wellness services FoundryBC has become known for, including social services, peer support and health care.”

There are 16 Foundry centres open throughout the province in Vancouver-Granville, North Shore (North Vancouver), Campbell River, Ridge Meadows, Abbotsford, Kelowna, Prince George, Victoria, Penticton, Terrace, Comox Valley, Langley, Richmond, Cariboo-Chilcotin (Williams Lake), Sea to Sky (Squamish) and now Port Hardy.

The Province is providing annual funding toward operations and services at Foundry Port Hardy and provided one-time funding of $500,000 toward the establishment of the centre. Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island has supported Foundry Port Hardy’s fundraising efforts, providing $400,000 to build and establish the interim centre with support from donors and community champions.

“Our vision has always been to make safe and inclusive wellness resources accessible for youth not just in cities, but in the furthest reaches of the province,” said Karen Tee, associate executive director at Foundry. “Improving the quality of life for young people everywhere lies at the very heart of our work. It brings me enormous pride that we can now carry out Foundry’s vision of offering youth mental-health and substance-use resources in our first rural community in British Columbia.”

Enhancing supports for youth living with mental-health and substance-use needs is an integral part of A Pathway to Hope, B.C.’s roadmap for building a comprehensive system of mental-health and addictions care for British Columbians.

Michele Babchuk, MLA for North Island, said that young people in particular “have faced such uncertainty over the past few years with the COVID-19 pandemic, toxic-drug crisis and climate-related emergencies. As a result, more youth are reaching out for help, and it’s important that they are met with the care they deserve. With Foundry Port Hardy now offering interim services, more youth will have access to the mental-health and addiction supports they need.”

Nicki Ranger, executive director, North Island Crisis and Counselling Centre, says, “We are particularly proud to be the first rural Foundry location opened in B.C., and we hope to share our learnings as the Foundry network expands into other remote and rural communities. We know that youth living in rural and isolated communities often have higher needs with fewer resources and this is truly what has made us so passionate about opening Foundry Port Hardy in the North Island! Gilakas’la.”

Ann Hory, chair of the board, North Island Crisis and Counselling Centre (NICCCS), said that on behalf of NICCCS board and its staff, “we are thrilled Foundry Port Hardy is opening its interim site. The support Foundry Port Hardy will provide, thanks to the supportive staff, will help fill the gaps in all our north Island towns. My heartfelt thanks to the many people who step forward to support this initiative to come to fruition. Together we are building a stronger, more cohesive and caring community. I thank each and every one of you.”

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