On Friday, the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions announced that the province is spending $74.9 million to open 12 more Foundry centers across B.C.
The first two communities to receive the new centers — aimed at young people between 12 and 24 years of age — will be Vernon and Powell River. The remaining 10 communities will be decided later this year.
“Every young person in British Columbia deserves health-care services that meet their unique needs, including access to primary care and mental-health support, no matter where they live,” said mental health minister Jennifer Whiteside.
“A new Foundry Centre in Vernon will be a beacon for young people providing a safe and judgment-free space to find mental-health, wellness and addiction supports close to home.”
Foundry Vernon will be operated by the Canadian Mental Health Association Vernon and District Branch. There are 16 other Foundry centres in B.C., including ones in Kelowna and Penticton, while another seven Foundry centres are in development.
“It brings me enormous joy to see the strides Foundry is continuing to make in realizing its vision of making safe and accessible wellness spaces a living reality for young people in every part of the province, including rural and remote communities,” said Toni Carlton, Foundry’s provincial director for Community, Culture and Connection.
“The opening of a Foundry centre in Vernon is a momentous occasion,” Carlton said, “worthy of celebration for the community of Vernon and is a step in the right direction towards prioritizing the health and wellness needs of some of the most vulnerable members of our society.”
According to the ministry, B.C. will provide annual funding, plus a one-time fund of $1.5 million to establish the centre in Vernon.
“It’s necessary for young people to access mental-health and wellness services where and when they need them,” said Mitzi Dean, Minister of Children and Family Development.
“With this new Foundry centre coming to Vernon, youth and families will now have a one-stop service nearby that they can count on, enabling them to meet their goals because of these essential supports.”