Seamus Gee

Seamus turned 16 on Wednesday, October 23, 2019. He earned his driver’s license two days later, on a Friday.

That Sunday, his father Mike Gee returned from a morning walk to find Seamus unresponsive on the floor of his Langley home. He never regained consciousness.

A life of promise was extinguished in an impulsive moment of self-harm by asphyxiation. The cause of death was ruled as ‘inconclusive’ in a coroner’s report, Mike says.

If Seamus had been depressed, it hadn’t been obvious or clear. Encouraged by his new driving skills, his birthday celebrations and plans to apply for a part-time job, he had much to look forward to.

Though the isolation of pandemic restrictions hasn’t helped, Mike Gee is slowly carving his way out of his trauma by embracing his role on the Family Advisory Committee for the new Foundry Langley.

Foundry Langley has been designed as a safe space where young people can find coordinated, confidential youth mental and physical wellness services from professionals equipped to guide them with medical and mental health wellness and counselling.

It’s a community-wide effort.

The Foundry Langley model of a “one-stop” navigation hub for all physical and mental health services is an appealing one for young people who may not have the resources to wade through the bureaucracy on the way to counselling or medical services.

“We need to reach kids early and empower them with tools and support before their problems become too severe,” says Langley physician Dr. Geeta Gupta, who is now instrumental in the efforts to establish a Foundry Langley.

“They need someone there to lean on.”

Mike Gee says he looks forward to the day when young people walk into Foundry Langley, with the confidence that they’ll be heard and respected.

“Foundry will help young people. It will help to stop the stigma of getting help for mental health issues, and young people will feel comfortable going there. They’ll be in their own social groups, and they won’t feel judged.”