Kelowna, BC, November 1, 2022 – Foundry Kelowna, an integrated mental health clinic for youth aged 12-24 and their families, is celebrating five years of being in the community. Since opening its doors in 2017, more than 4,500 youth and 3,000 families have accessed mental health services at the centre.
Billed as a ‘proof of concept’, Kelowna was the second Foundry location to open in BC. The goal for the innovative model is to fundamentally change the way youth and their families’ access mental health care through an integrated approach with a focus on prevention and early intervention. Foundry Kelowna, operated by CMHA Kelowna, offers mental health and substance use counselling and supports, primary care, in addition to an array of social services such as access to housing, employment, income, and peer supports. Now, five years later, there are more than 20 Foundry locations open across the province.
Mike Gawliuk, CMHA Kelowna CEO says the demand for the services was almost immediate. “What initially sparked the journey of Foundry Kelowna, was the understanding that there was a gap in reaching young people with mild-to-moderate mental health challenges. We knew then that early intervention and prevention was key to supporting youth in our community.”
Gawliuk says the number of young people and their caregivers who are in need has increased with the onset of the pandemic. “At Foundry Kelowna, we adapted and expanded services in order to respond to the need during incredible uncertainty. Providing virtual services to youth and families during the pandemic was a mainstay for us in terms of continuing to offer help. 2021 also saw the launch of Foundry Kelowna’s Wellness on Wheels – a first of its kind mobile unit that travels to West Kelowna, Westbank First Nation, and Lake Country to offer services for young people in those communities.”
Collaboration and partnership have been cornerstones of the overall Foundry model. “No one agency can do it all,” adds Gawliuk. “By working together, agencies and service providers in the community have a better chance to make it easier for young people to access care and navigate systems. The pandemic made collaboration much more challenging and we are looking forward to finding better ways to support youth in our community. We are so grateful to our many partners over the years.
In 2017, the community caught the vision and really helped make Foundry Kelowna a reality through generous donations, service partnerships and simply daring to do things differently. We look forward to the many years of working together to support youth and families in our community.”
About Foundry Kelowna
Operated by CMHA Kelowna, Foundry Kelowna is an integrated youth and family clinic that unites partner organizations to provide coordinated services addressing the primary care, mental health, substance use, counselling and social service needs of youth 12-24 and their families. Foundry Kelowna supports young peoples’ well-being by intervening early so youth can find the help they need, when they need it. To learn more, please visit: