(Foundry Victoria)

The B.C. Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions has announced the launch of eight new Foundry mental health centres for youth across the province.

Currently, there are 11 of these comprehensive centres in existence, including one in Victoria that opened in 2018.

The new Foundry centres will serve the communities of Port Hardy, Comox Valley, Langley, Squamish, Surrey, Williams Lake, Burns Lake, and Cranbrook.

See also: B.C. invests $5 million to expand virtual mental health services during COVID-19 pandemic

“With COVID-19 impacting the mental health of young people in a big way, and with the overdose crisis continuing, it’s more important than ever that they have quick access to the excellent supports that Foundry provides,” said Minister Judy Darcy in a statement on Monday.

These new sites were chosen after a two-step evaluation process which began in October 2019, and once open, will form a network of 19 Foundry centres in B.C.

After the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the nine existing Foundry centres began accepting virtual appointments starting April 20.

This was part of a $5 million initiative by the provincial government to expand access to virtual mental health services during the period of social isolation.

Foundry’s virtual services include drop-in counselling, peer support and family support, and will soon include primary care for people aged 12 to 24 years old and their caregivers.