Foundry North Shore official opening and ribbon cutting ceremony. Pictured here are (L-R) North Van City councillor Linda Buchanan, MLA Bowinn Ma, Minister of Mental Health & Addictions Judy Darcy, MLA Jane Thornethwaite, Foundry North Shore manager Tanis Evans, Foundry North Shore team leader Terry Bulych and peer support worker Yvana Avram.

VCH celebrates official opening of Foundry North Shore with Minister of Mental Health & Addictions, local MLAs

It was standing room only at the official grand opening of Foundry North Shore last Friday morning as various stakeholders, government and health officials, staff and invited guests came to celebrate a new way for young people to access health services.

Foundry North Shore is a wellness centre where clients 12 to 24 can walk in and see general practitioners, nurse practitioners, public health nurses, occupational therapists, mental health and substance use clinicians, and youth and family peer-support and navigation workers. Income assistance, housing and employment services are also available on site at 211 West 1st Street in North Vancouver.

Speakers at the event included the Honourable Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health & Addictions, Pam Liversidge, Foundry’s Policy and Partnerships Director, Foundry North Shore manager Tanis Evans and Yvana Avram, a youth peer support worker, who shared her lived experience. The event was emceed by Karin Olson, Chief Operating Officer, Coastal.

Youth support worker Yvana Avram shares her story at the Foundry North Shore official opening as Judy Darcy, Minister for Mental Health and Addictions, looks on.

Access to opioid agonist therapy coming soon

Later this year, young people with substance use issues will be able to access opioid agonist therapy (Suboxone). Other treatment and harm reduction services are also available at Foundry North Shore. “The low-barrier nature of this centre means youth can drop in, have a chat and perhaps come back when they are more motivated,” says Dr. Jordan Cohen, a VCH psychiatrist working at Foundry.  “Just walking in the door is a brave step.”

“Foundry is about transforming access to care and ensuring young people get the help they need when they need it, says Dr. Steve Mathias, Executive Director, Foundry. “By offering welcoming one-stop shops with a variety of wellness services, we want to remove the stigma of seeking help and reach young people early on – before small problems become big ones.”

“Youth in crisis don’t have time to make appointments and wait for referrals,” says Yvana Avram. “I would encourage young people who feel like something is wrong to get help.” Trust yourself, she says; “Your life is worth it.”

MLA Jane Thornthwiate (l) sits with Tanis Evans, Manager NS CYMHSU services, Judy Darcy, Minister of MH&A, and MLA Bowinn Ma (both standing).

Media coverage

Many media outlets attended the official opening. Below are links to media coverage:

Afternoon open house attracts a crowd

Foundry  North Shore also hosted an open house later in the afternoon on Friday and by all accounts it was a massive success.

“The community came out in abundance -parents, youth, community partners, school reps, etc) to learn about and take a tour of Foundry North Shore,” says Terry Bulych, Team Leader at Foundry NS. “It was very much a carnival atmosphere with cotton candy, popcorn, balloons, swag and bannock tacos from Squamish Nation.  We also had a youth DJ and a youth photographer, capturing the festivities.  Overall, people seemed excited about the new service and are looking forward to its evolution in future.”

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