Kelowna youth mental health support hitting road with wellness RV | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna youth mental health support hitting road with wellness RV

Foundry Kelowna's new wellness on wheels service rolls out in June.
Image Credit: CMHA Kelowna
May 30, 2021 - 9:30 AM

A new Foundry Kelowna project is taking to the road to bring mental health services to Central Okanagan youth.

Youth ages 12 to 24 will have access Foundry Kelowna’s retrofitted motorhome, which will travel to West Kelowna, Westbank First Nation and Lake Country, so they can more easily access the support they need, according to a Foundry Kelowna press release.

The mobile unit is the first of its kind in the province and will be rolling out mid-June. The unit will provide drop-in counselling and navigation supports, with plans to expand service by late August.

Wellness on wheels is operated by the Canadian Mental Health Association Kelowna and co-created with more than 100 Central Okanagan youth to ensure the initial concept, look and feel, and services meet the unique needs of young people in the region, according to the release.

READ MORE: Although it won't officially open until August, construction on Foundry Kelowna is complete

“I have heard from many parents that their children need access to more mental health and substance use services close to home and without delay”, said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, in the press release.

“It is innovative and low-barrier services like Foundry’s new Kelowna wellness on wheels project that will make life-saving supports more easily accessible for young people in the Central Okanagan. I look forward to hearing how this service is making a positive impact in the region.”

Since the youth mental health organization's opening less than four years ago, more than 4,000 youth and 1,000 families have come to get help from Foundry Kelowna and its partners, she said.

READ MORE: Foundry Penticton provides mental health assistance to youth

What we’ve learned when talking to young people about their mental health is that there are still barriers to getting help,” said Shelagh Turner, CEO of CMHA Kelowna, in the news release.

“With this wellness on wheels service, we are eliminating geographic obstacles to care by bringing help and support to young people in communities throughout the Central Okanagan. It amazes me how the community has come together for this project. Their generosity is truly what made it possible.”

The wellness on wheels service is an extension of Foundry’s provincial model of care, a part of A Pathway to Hope, the province’s roadmap for making mental health and addictions care better for people in British Columbia, according to the press release.

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