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Mental wellness: The Foundry finds permanent home to help Richmond youth

A youth hub in City Centre helps young people access sexual health, substance use and mental health services.
The Foundry Richmond is located on Cooney Road.

A youth-oriented mental health hub in Richmond has found a permanent home.

The Foundry, originally located on Westminster Highway, recently moved to Cooney Road, offering help with sexual health, mental health and substance use.

The Foundry was co-designed by youth to be an “open, welcoming, accessible space,” explained Karen Barclay, operations director for mental health and substance use in Richmond, “so they bring up the hard topics to get the help they need.”

This includes the design and colour scheme, designed by a youth peer group, called the Foundry Youth Advocates.

One of the requirements of the Foundry has to do with its location — it has to be a street-front location so youth can just walk in, it has to be centrally located and accessible for people with mobility issues, and close to city centre and public transit, Barclay explained.

Since opening in July 2020, the Foundry has had about 1,800 youth access its services with about 300 monthly visits.

The idea is for youth to build trust with health-care workers, so that if there are other issues, they feel comfortable discussing them as well, Barclay said.

The Foundry serves youth aged 12 to 24, and this is specifically designed recognizing that, while legally youth at 19 might be adults, the brain is still developing well past this age.

“What we’re understanding is development of the adult brain is not matching up with the age of majority,” Barclay said.

But services at the Foundry are designed to integrate youth into adulthood, teaching them “healthy behaviours” when accessing health care, Barclay explained.

Since they opened in 2020, Barclay said she’s heard “dozens and dozens” of stories of youth you’ve been able to get the mental-health support they needed whether it’s youth who’ve lived in Richmond a long time or newcomers.

Not only can youth get help, but families of youth who are struggling can also receive peer support.

Services at the Foundry are designed to integrate young people into adulthood, teaching them “healthy behaviours” when accessing health care, Barclay explained.

The Foundry is now located at #101-5811 Cooney Rd. and is open Monday to Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information and to book an appointment at the Foundry, click here

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