Wide range of services for troubled young people with opening of Granville Youth Health Centre (Inner City Youth Program, St. Paul's Hospital)

At 23, Alex Mann-Kuefler dropped out of college and ended up in the Downtown Eastside.

Beset by addiction and undiagnosed mental health issues, he stayed in a squalid SRO hotel for six months until a St. Paul’s Hospital psychiatrist with the Inner City Youth team knocked on his door.

“I didn’t have insight into my own illness,” said Mann-Kuefler, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia. “But when I did find help, it changed my life and it allowed me to go back to a great quality of life again.”

Now 26 and a peer support worker with plans to enrol in an international development program at Simon Fraser University, he is one of the many success stories of the Inner City Youth program, which on Wednesday opened a new centre in downtown Vancouver that offers integrated health and social assistance services for vulnerable youth under one roof.

Cheryl Chan reports

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