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More counselling help for youth in B.C. as Foundry expands

‘This expansion is our largest to date,’ Dr. Steve Mathias says
Jennifer Whiteside, minister of mental health and addictions, speaking in Surrey on Monday, March 4. (Screen shot)

Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Jennifer Whiteside was in Surrey on Monday to announce more help for young people wrestling with mental health and addiction issues with new Foundry centres coming to South Surrey, Burnaby, Chilliwack, Nanaimo, Port Alberni, Quesnel, SookeWestshore, Vancouver, Vanderhoof and the West Kootenays.

These will join 25 other communities with Foundry centres that are either open or in development, bringing the total to 35.

Whiteside made the announcement at the 18,000-square foot Foundry Surrey centre, at 10280 City Parkway, which is expected to be operational by the end of the year.

“We’ll be providing services to youth in this particular area, and we know speaking specifically of the central Surrey and Newton area for a moment, 80,000 youth live in this area and we know what kinds of needs youth, children and youth in this neighbourhood, are looking for,” Whiteside said, with over 50 partner agencies in Surrey.

“We know that youth are full of hopes and dreams and we want to do everything that we can to help them connect to the care and support that they need so they can thrive.”

Foundry Surrey aims to serve young people ages 12 to 24 years old, making available walk-in counselling among other services.

“These are welcoming and judgment-free places for youth of all backgrounds to connect with free, confidential, care that is wrap-around care but that also provides so much more,” Whiteside said.

According to the provincial government, 75 per cent of serious mental-health issues emerge before people reach age 25.

In 2022-2023, Foundry services in B.C. helped 17,567 people aged 12-24 with 14,987 accessing in-person services and 2,580 Foundry Virtual services.

Dr. Steve Mathias, Foundry executive director, calls it a “labour of love.

“It wasn’t easy to get here today,” he said. “By 2027 we expect 35 open centres in addition to Foundry Virtual, our seven-day-a-week virtual service. The Foundry network welcomes these 10 communities that, as of today, will embark on the incredibly rich journey of health care transformation as services become easier to access and more acceptable as social and economic barriers are removed and health care systems once fragmented become integrated in one place.”

For information about Foundry, visit: and to learn about mental-health and addictions issues support in B.C.,

About the Author: Tom Zytaruk

I write unvarnished opinion columns and unbiased news reports for the Surrey Now-Leader.
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