Regina, SK (January 30, 2019): Thanks to the support of the Community Initiatives Fund, UR Pride Centre for Sexuality & Gender Diversity is piloting a seven-month counselling program specifically targeted towards gender and sexually diverse (GSD) people and their families.
Under the name Monarch Mental Health, GSD people and their loved ones will be able to book a no-cost appointment with a counsellor specializing in 2SLGBTQIAP+ (Two-Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, pansexual and more) communities and issues. UR Pride Centre hired Suzy Yim, a clinical social worker with extensive experience working with 2SLGBTQIAP+ people earlier this month, and she will begin taking clients on February 11th 2019.
Research on the mental health of GSD people in Canada offers troubling results. According to Rainbow Health Ontario, LGB (lesbian, gay, bisexual) people are more likely to report unmet mental health needs. In one of the few studies gathering Saskatchewan data, UBC’s Stigma and Resilience Among Vulnerable Youth Centre (SARAVYC) showed that the prairies fared worse than other provinces: 41% of Saskatchewan and Manitoba transgender youth self-reported “poor” mental health compared to the national average of 31%. However, most experts offer hope and direction: GSD people who have supportive figures in their lives are more likely to report good or excellent mental health. “After consultation with mental health providers and our community in Regina, we knew that we had to do something about mental health outcomes for GSD people in our city,” said Jacq Brasseur, Executive Director of UR Pride Centre.
To ensure access for all people living in Regina, the program will be housed away from the UR Pride Centre’s main office at the University of Regina. In an exciting partnership, Monarch Mental Health will exist at Family Service Regina on 1440 Broadway Avenue in Regina, SK. “We’ve been working with UR Pride Centre over the past year to improve our services to the gender and sexually diverse community, and when they approached us about supporting this project, we couldn’t say no,” said Kirk Englot, Chief Operating Officer of Family Service Regina.
Monarch Mental Health will also be developing and offering training for other mental health service providers in the city during the last stages of the project to enhance counsellors’ skills in providing support to GSD people. UR Pride Centre is exploring additional funding to be able to extend the project after the first seven months.
Suzy Yim, MSW, RSW
Monarch Mental Health, UR Pride Centre
UR Pride Centre
306-586-8811 Ext. 207