Foundry Kelowna, psychological well being clinic for youth, turns 5 – Kelowna Information

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Foundry Kelowna celebrates five years of supporting youth and families.

The Foundry mental health clinic for youth and young adults in Kelowna is celebrating five years in the community.

Since opening in 2017, more than 4,500 youth and 3,000 families have accessed mental health services at the centre.

It was billed as a “proof of concept” when it opened and was the second of its kind in B.C. Similar locations, 20 in all, have since been launched throughout the province.

Locally, the facility is operated by CMHA Kelowna, offering mental health and substance use counselling and supports, primary care, in addition to an array of social services such as access to housing, employment, income, and peer supports. It serves people aged 12 to 24.

“What initially sparked the journey of Foundry Kelowna, was the understanding that there was a gap in reaching young people with mild-to-moderate mental health challenges. We knew then that early intervention and prevention was key to supporting youth in our community,” said CMHA Kelowna CEO Mike Gawliuk.

Gawliuk says the number of young people and their caregivers who are in need has increased with the onset of the pandemic.

“At Foundry Kelowna, we adapted and expanded services in order to respond to the need during incredible uncertainty. Providing virtual services to youth and families during the pandemic was a mainstay for us in terms of continuing to offer help. 2021 also saw the launch of Foundry Kelowna’s Wellness on Wheels – a first of its kind mobile unit that travels to West Kelowna, Westbank First Nation, and Lake Country to offer services for young people in those communities.”

Collaboration and partnership have been cornerstones of the overall Foundry model.

“No one agency can do it all,” adds Gawliuk. “By working together, agencies and service providers in the community have a better chance to make it easier for young people to access care and navigate systems. The pandemic made collaboration much more challenging and we are looking forward to finding better ways to support youth in our community. We are so grateful to our many partners over the years.”

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