B.C. announced the launch of an app May 7 that connects youth struggling with mental health and substance use with “life-saving” social services. (Screen grab)

B.C. announced the launch of an app May 7 that connects youth struggling with mental health and substance use with “life-saving” social services. (Screen grab)

5 years in the making: Mental health app for youth and children launches in B.C.

The province provided $1.6-million to fund a virtual care platform

B.C. announced the launch of an app Friday (May 7) that connects youth struggling with mental health and substance use with “life-saving” social services.

Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Sheila Malcolmson said people aged 12 to 24 will now have on-the-spot access to counsellors, practitioners and peer support.

The province provided $1.6-million to fund Foundry Virtual BC, which took five years to create and builds upon in-person services offered at B.C.’s 11 Foundry centres.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated mental health challenges for children, youth and their caregivers, Malcolmson said.

At a time when in-person services are reduced due, the app and will allow young people to schedule virtual appointments, access same-day supports and join peers in group sessions.

“We are removing more barriers to create faster and easier access to the help youth in need,” she said.

READ ALSO: B.C. and Victoria’s overdose deaths still rising five years after public health emergency declared

“Youth, especially those in rural and remote areas of the province, will be able to seek and services on demand.”

Many have already been helped with the delivery of the platform, said Malcomson, noting 1,100 users already registered on the app.

No referrals are required and services, including sexual health consultations, are free and confidential.

Foundry Virtual BC is available for download through Apple and Google stores.

READ MORE: Suspected overdose death of Vancouver Island 12 year old speaks to lack of supports

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