A one-stop shop for youth services in North Vancouver is reminding people that this week’s an especially good one to spread the message regarding the importance of mental health.
Foundry North Shore, a Vancouver Coastal Health-operated facility that’s comprised of more than 15 existing social programs and services all operating under one roof in Lower Lonsdale, officially opened its doors in September.
Since the facility opened, many youth have been dropping in to seek services in everything from employment to a whole range of health-care services, said Dale Handley, manager for VCH’s North Shore Youth Mental Health and Substance Use program that operates at Foundry and other facilities.
“I think youth are still navigating their way through life and understanding who they are, what their needs are and everything else. As part of that navigation, the less barriers we can put up to them in those building blocks that they’re trying to get developed at that point the better,” Handley said, adding that putting a number of youth services under one roof is a way to tear down that barrier.
May 7-13 is the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Mental Health Week, a national endeavour to spread the message that mental health relates to more than just mental illness – and share the notion that everyone deserves to feel well regardless of their experience with mental health.
Asked for tips on maintaining one’s mental health, Handley offered that creating connections for oneself was of the utmost importance.
“Making sure that you’re seeking out supports when you need them and not feeling alone in the situation – things like peer support make such a difference in saying, ‘This is something that you’re experiencing and other people have experienced too. You’re not alone in this.’”
He recommended the Kelty Dennehy Mental Health Resource Centre located at Lions Gate Hospital’s HOpe Centre, as well as Foundry North Shore, for adults and young people seeking more information on self-care and other mental health tips.
More information can also be found on the CMHA’s Mental Health Week at mentalhealthweek.ca or at the VCH website at vch.ca/your-care/mental-health-substance-use.
Community social service organizations that have partnered with Foundry North Shore to offer youth services at the facility include North Shore Neighbourhood House, Parkgate Community Services Society, Capilano Community Services, the Canadian Mental Health Association, Hollyburn Family Services, and WorkBC.
The 9,000-square-foot Foundry facility is located at 211 West First St.
“Trying to bring supports to youth at the early stage … is what we’re really focusing on,” Handley said. “Mental health and substance use effects all of us in some ways, in some element of our life.”