Josh and Lucy’s Story: Finding a way back to the future

“We’re so glad, this program saved his life.” – Lucy

Growing up in North Vancouver, Josh loved music, especially drumming. He helped his mom Lucy in the kitchen and dreamed of becoming a chef.

Despite being diagnosed with depression and ADHD, he was able to function at a high level both at school and working in service jobs. But a bad break up after high school sent him into a spiral, and Lucy wasn’t sure how to help.

 “This aggression is in there – our house has like holes around from him expressing his anger. He would close the doors. Shut off the lights. Our entire house was so dark” remembers Lucy.

She and her husband both work long hours on a psychiatric ward. They know better than most what Josh was experiencing, but that didn’t make it any easier: 

“Because we work every day, 16 hours a day, and he’s alone dealing with deep depression. He doesn’t want to live anymore. It’s really hard. We’ve only got one son.

“We were so scared”.

Connecting through cooking

It was hard to imagine recovery. But when Josh was ready, they reached out to The Foundry – and that’s where he connected with Coast’s culinary training program.

The Culinary Training Program is one of Coast’s core employment-based training programs – which focus on building clients’ skills and supporting them in transitioning into meaningful work.

Made possible through the generous support of donors, this 10-week program is designed to support young people living with mental illness who are experiencing barriers to employment. And it offers participants access to the very popular Brain Training and Essential Skills programs.

For Josh, Culinary Training helped him get back on a healthy schedule. And connecting with the community helped to power his recovery.


“I'm just glad I have people that will help me now, not just always me trying to reach out.” - Thanks to incredible donors like you, Josh took Coast's Culinary Training program.

A new routine

“Before I came here,” he shares “- it was like I was living on a very sheltered schedule in life. The way I lived, I would go outside, more during the night than day, kind of solitary. I would only hang out with my cousin and a few of my friends. I was just out, roaming around. It’s not really like a set schedule. You don’t wake up in the morning at the same times. You don’t cook up breakfast for yourself for or you don’t like, take your meds or supplements and stuff.”

“But coming down here, you meet a bunch of people.” he continues, “People from all walks of the world. And I think that’s important. It’s more positive than hanging out by yourself, for sure.”

Work Experience

After he completed his course, Josh began working at the Social Crust Cafe, one of two social enterprises operated by Coast. Supporting these businesses helps to reduce stigma, and support young people like Josh who are recovering from mental illness.

 “I’m glad I came here because now I have certain connections, I wouldn’t get from just working,” Josh says. “When I came back here, I hadn’t worked for two or three years. There’s like a big gap in my employment, so I was afraid of going back in.”

Transitional employment helped Josh return to work he loved.

And being a part of the cooking community at Coast is giving Josh confidence that when he’s ready to go back to work, he’ll have support. “Once I leave this place, I could use them as a launch. Chef Margaret and Chris can give me a good recommendation.”

Josh’s dream of becoming a chef someday is now within reach. “Chef Margaret talks a lot about the exit plan. and I’m talking to her about my next step either through going to Vancouver Community College or other directions.”

“I’m just glad I have people that will help me now, not just always me trying to reach out.”

A change for the better 

Lucy has noticed a real change since Josh started the course: “I’m less stressed, for sure.”

“Some mornings I’m still sleeping and I’m so amazed that he’s already left for work! He’s even started going to the gym, swimming.

“I’m so happy, it’s really made such a difference in his life. Now, he wants to live. And I can see my son and my husband smiling again.”

You can read more about your impact in Coast Mental Health Foundation’s Annual Gratitude Report – an ode to you and your generosity! 

Recent News


Your donation to Coast Mental Health Foundation provides essential housing, support, and employment services for people with mental illness so they can find their meaningful place in our community – a place to live, a place to connect, and a place to work.



* indicates required

We take your privacy seriously and will carefully protect your email address.