Ken Kilcullen, Bell Media’s general manager for the B.C. Interior, presents a gift of $17,000 to Foundry Kelowna on behalf of Bell Let’s Talk.—Image: contributed

Let’s Talk money for Foundry Kelowna

Bell’s Let’s Talk Community Fund gives Kelowna mental health facility for youth $17,000

Foundry Kelowna, an integrated services facility that provides help for youth struggling with mental illness and substance issues, is getting $17,000 from Bell’s Let’s Talk Community Fund.

The money, announced on Bell’s annual Let’s Talk Day Wednesday, will help fund Foundry Kelowna’s new Youth Navigator Service, covering costs directly related to the acquisition and training of staff and delivery of early, coordinated intervention.

As the first point of contact to the 25 different programs and services available at Foundry Kelowna, the youth navigators are described as fundamental to the integrated care model used by Foundry Kelowna.

“Bell Let’s Talk has really paved the way in raising awareness around the stigma of mental illness,” said Allison Ramchuk, director of philanthropy at the KGH Foundation, in announcing the grant.

“This gift will continue to move us forward in advancing how we help those who are struggling. We are very grateful.”

Wednesday was Bell’s annual Let Talk Day in support those dealing with mental illness.

During the day each year, the company gives five cents to Canadian mental health programs for every text message, mobile and long distance call made by Bell customers, every tweet using the hashtag #BellLetsTalk, every view of Bell Let’s Talk Day video on Facebook and every use of the Bell’s Let’s Talk filter and video view.

As an integrated youth and family centre, Foundry Kelowna represents what the proponents call a paradigm shift in the delivery of mental health and substance use services in the community.

The centre is the first of its kind in the B.C. Interior, a place young people between the ages of 12 and 24, and their family members, can walk in and find the help they need, when they need it.

While Foundry Kelowna’s main focus is on primary health care and mental health and substance use services, the clinic also facilitates access to employment and educational supports, childcare and housing assistance.

Through early intervention and collaboration between clinical and social support programs, Foundry Kelowna serves as a central resource for youth suffering with mental illness in the community.

The Bell grant comes on the heels of a $242,000 grant from the province’s community Gaming Grant program in December to the Canadian Mental Health Association to expand Foundry services through the use of a specially equipped recreational vehicle to be used in the community.

The RV will go to various areas throughout the community and to offer services to young people who may not be able to get to Foundry’s offices in Kelowna.

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