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Facility to support youth struggling with mental health and substance use opens in the Comox Valley

Foundry Comox Valley officially opened in Courtenay on June 6
Angie Prescott, manager of Courtenay Community Programs for the John Howard Society of North Island, Courtenay Coun. Doug Hillian, and Courtenay-Comox MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard at the newly-opened Foundry Comox Valley. The facility for youth, located at 575 10 Street in Courtenay, officially opened on Monday, June 6. Photo supplied.

Foundry Comox Valley, a facility specifically for youth facing mental health and substance-use challenges, officially opened its doors on Monday, June 6.

The facility at 575 10 St. will provide young people between the ages of 12 and 24, along with their families, free and confidential age-friendly and supportive health, wellness, and substance use services to fit their unique needs in their own community.

“Young people have been dealing with immense pressures and health challenges, which have only been made worse as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the toxic-drug crisis, and climate-related emergencies,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “With the opening of Foundry Comox Valley, more young people will be able to get health, wellness and substance-use supports that meet their needs.”

Foundry Comox Valley is the 12th Foundry centre to open in British Columbia and will be operated by the John Howard Society of North Island (JHSNI) in collaboration with community partners. In addition to mental health and substance-use services, the centre will also provide primary and sexual health care, youth and family peer support, and social services.

“We’re delighted to open this much-needed facility for young people in collaboration with our community partners,” said JHSNI executive director, Wendy Richardson. “Foundry Comox Valley will offer a variety of free services, including mental-health and substance-use counselling, primary and sexual health care, peer support, and social services, including employment supports.”

The Province is providing annual funding toward operations and services at Foundry Comox Valley, and has provided one-time funding of $800,000 toward the establishment of the centre. The John Howard Society of North Island is raising the remaining $1.4 million required for the centre’s establishment with support from the Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island and many community champions.

Foundry virtual services can be accessed from anywhere in the province through the Foundry BC app or website, or by phone.

“The opening of Foundry is great news for young people in the Comox Valley,” said Mitzi Dean, Minister of Children and Family Development. “This means young people will now have a non-stigmatizing point of access to a range of services they need, when they need it. I’m hopeful that Foundry will help many on their pathway to hope.”