Judy Darcy, the province’s minister of mental health and addictions, speaks Tuesday at the opening of Foundry Abbotsford. Tyler Olsen/Abbotsford News

Foundry Abbotsford opens its doors to youth in need

Site hopes to offer one-stop services for stigma-free mental health and addictions help

Jenni Johnson and Nyachol Solomon needed help as they grew up. They didn’t get it. Or, at least, they didn’t get nearly enough of it from the province’s social system.

Johnson, who struggled with mental illness, felt “hopeless.” She said there were far too many barriers that stood between her and the help she needed

Solomon, meanwhile, aged out of the foster system with little but the clothes on her back.

“I was always alone and always in the wrong place,” she said. “As a youth, I didn’t get help, like going to the doctors, going to the dentists or seeking more support.”

On Tuesday, Johnson and Solomon stood in front of dozens of people and spoke about a facility that hopes to provide resources the pair didn’t have access to. They talked both about their past, and about their hopes for Foundry, which brings together a range of youth services under one roof, with the aim of being a one-stop shop for young people dealing with mental health, substance use and other illness issues..

“I’m excited for Foundry because you’re always in the right place,” Solomon said. “If there was a Foundry when I was a youth I would have got more help.”

Solomon and Johnson are both now peer support workers at Foundry, which involves 16 different organizations, and is operated by Abbotsford Community Services.

Service providers include Fraser Health, the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, the Ministry of Children and Family Development, and other partners. Fraser Health’s Adolescent Day Program, which had operated out of Abbotsford Regional Hospital, now has rooms upstairs, while throughout the large space more than a dozen “listening rooms,” provide areas for counselling and other person-to-person supports.

More than just bringing existing services under one room, the aim is to provide a single stigma-free place where youth aged 12 to 24 can seek out help without encountering the barriers that have deterred some in the past from getting the help they need.

“All we’re trying to do is create a place where young people can come and ask for help, or if they need to, can just walk in and figure out what they want after they’ve spent half an hour there,” Dr. Steve Mathias, who has led the project, said Tuesday. “That space has not existed in this province before”

The Abbotsford location – which was first announced last April by the BC Liberal government – has been in operation since May at its site on Simon Avenue, in Central Abbotsford. It is the seventh of 11 such facilities set to open around British Columbia.

Mathias said its a good start, but that he would like to eventually see 30 such facilities in the province.

For more information go to foundrybc.ca/abbotsford.

 

Just Posted

Abbots-FORD or Abbits-FERD?

Meme sparks debate over proper pronunciation of city’s name

Abbotsford Centre records busiest fall on record

Venue sees more than 48,000 guests and four sellouts from Sept. 14 to Nov. 3

Cineplex to show free holiday movies to support Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada

Community Day will be on Dec. 7 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m at select theatres

UFV Theatre and School of Creative Arts present ART

Production opens Thursday, Nov. 14 at Abbotsford campus

Ware Street delays after two-car crash

Van and FedEx vehicle at Bourquin Way intersection

VIDEO: Disney Plus gives Canadians a streaming platform that nearly matches U.S. version

The Walt Disney Company’s new subscription platform unveiled a comprehensive offering of nearly 500 films

Students plan rally at B.C. education minister’s office as district strike enters third week

Saanich School District students plan to rally outside Rob Fleming’s constituency office in Victoria

73% of B.C. residents agree with a temporary ban on vaping products: poll

54% say they would not date someone who vapes, Research Co. poll suggests

Sex assault charge stayed against Port Moody mayor

Rob Vagramov appeared in provincial court in Port Coquitlam

B.C.’s 13-cent gasoline gap still a mystery, Premier John Horgan says

NDP plans legislation this month, seeks action from Justin Trudeau

Former Vancouver Canucks player suing financial advisors for negligence

Jason Garrison claimed his advisors failed to take his circumstances into account

Group walking on thin ice at B.C. lake sparks warning from RCMP

At least seven people were spotted on Joffre Lakes, although the ice is not thick enough to be walked on

B.C. teacher said he would use student to ‘whack’ two others on Grade 8 field trip

Campbell River teacher-on-call suspended three weeks after November 2018 incident

Petition to ‘bring back Don Cherry’ goes viral after immigrant poppy rant

Cherry was fired from his co-hosting role for the Coach’s Corner segment on Nov. 11.

Most Read