North Vancouver centre offers one stop shop for youth wellness

Foundry North Shore officially opened its doors on Friday. The centre provides a wide array of health and social services for free to youth aged 12 to 24.

Centre among five opening across B.C. that will provide an array of services to youth under one roof

The Foundry North Shore offers drop in hours for youth four days a week. (Vancouver Coastal Health)

The idea behind Foundry North Shore is to bring more than 15 existing programs and services for youth and their families under one friendly roof. 

The centre at 211 West First Street in North Vancouver has a team of doctors, nurses, therapists, mental health, substance use and social workers co-ordinating their services for free to youth aged 12 to 24.

"Many of the services are the same, but one of the critical key differences is we've come together, and we're working in a seamless, coordinated way," said Foundry North Shore manager Tanis Evans.

"Sally doesn't have to go from one office to the next office, to the next office. If indeed Sally needs three different types of services, they can all be provided in one place."

The centre provides youth with spaces for hanging out. (Vancouver Coastal Health)

Foundry North Shore is one of five youth service centres opening across the province which focus on early interventions for youth dealing with health issues. 

"We know that support for youth is critical upstream. That's where we need to make sure that we are supporting our young people before they have reached a crisis point in their lives. Investing in prevention, in intervening early, when a young person is struggling," said provincial Mental Health and Addictions Minister Judy Darcy.

Soft openings are taking place for Foundry centres in Campbell River, Kelowna and Prince George, while Abbotsford is expected to be up and running early in the new Year.

Each center plans to serve between 1,200 and 2,500 young people per year.

Peer support worker Yvana Avram describes her work at the Foundry North Shore to Mental Health and Addictions Minister Judy Darcy. (Cory Correia/CBC News)

Yvana Avram, 19, is a peer support worker at Foundry North Shore. Having struggled with depression and general anxiety disorder as a teenager, she says she is excited to offer a lifeline to youth facing mental illness. 

"It is a sort of a one stop shop, which is what makes Foundry really unique. You can walk in and see people right away, and access services right away, even if you don't know what you need," said Avram.

Foundry Policy and Partnerships Director Pamela Liversidge says an announcement concerning five more Foundry centres being added to the provincial network is coming in a few weeks.  

Foundry North Shore offers free and confidential services to youth ages 12 to 24. (Vancouver Coastal Health)

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Cory Correia

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Cory Correia is a reporter with CBC Vancouver. Send him an email at cory.correia@cbc.ca