It’s been a busy and successful inaugural year for Foundry Kelowna.
The service saw 1,500 youth between the ages of 12 and 24 come through its doors looking for help over the last 12 months.
Once those people come in for help, Foundry Kelowna works with 25 partner agencies as seamlessly as they can to reduce the burden they feel and get them the help they need.
“When a youth walks through our doors, it’s a safe and welcoming environment where they only have to tell their story once,” explains Melissa Feddersen, Foundry Kelowna’s manager. “That means getting help is less traumatic and less frustrating.”
Foundry Kelowna’s integrated care model also means less wait times because the onsite partner agencies can connect youth to counsellors, physicians and other similar services.
It’s not just youth getting help, however, as Feddersen explans.
“We’ve worked with more than 300 families since we opened,” she says. “When a young person comes in, sometimes we discover that mom or dad is also experiencing the chaos that comes from navigating services for their child - we work with the whole family.”
It’s always busy at Foundry Kelowna as the centre addresses mental health, primary care, substance use, counselling and social services seven days a week.
This includes support groups, educational events and even nighttime sessions.
It’s operated by the Canadian Mental Health Association Kelowna and it’s the first of its kind in the city.
“We are now one year in and we have learned so much from youth, families and our partners,” said Shelagh Turner, CMHA Kelowna executive director. “By working together, all of us can continue to be better at connecting young people to the right help at the right time.”
Foundry Kelowna is part of a network of seven centres now open in the province, with an additional four slated to open soon.