A message of support and inclusion from CMHA Kelowna’s CEO and CMHA BC Division
“CMHA Kelowna and Foundry Kelowna are committed to providing safe spaces for any person seeking help.
We are proud to partner with Central Okanagan Public Schools to assist students in accessing compassionate care and support.
Providing safe and inclusive spaces and supports is essential in promoting positive mental health and wellness.”
Mike Gawliuk, CEO, CMHA Kelowna
As an organization committed to mental health as a human right, we believe it is imperative to address an issue that continues to impact the lives of countless people in BC – the mental health of Two Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Asexual, Intersex and additional gender- and sexually-diverse (2SLGBTQAI+) individuals.
The transphobic, anti-gender diversity rhetoric occurring in British Columbia has adverse and harmful effects on the mental health of our communities. As a mental health organization, CMHA BC has seen firsthand that gender-affirming practices, education, and the fostering of a safe and protective environment not only promotes mental wellness, but directly saves lives.
Studies and individual experiences consistently reveal that 2SLGBTQAI+ individuals face higher rates of anxiety, depression, substance use, and suicidal ideation compared to their cisgender, heterosexual counterparts. The discrimination, societal pressures, and lack of acceptance encountered by the 2SLGBTQAI+ community can create an environment where mental health struggles are prevalent and often exacerbated.
Considering the above, we would like to emphasize the following:
We can all play a part in promoting a kind, compassionate, and inclusive community. Words matter.
Mental health organizations must play a part in recognizing and addressing harmful and stigmatizing rhetoric and must promote awareness of 2SLGBTQAI+ mental health challenges and services.
Public service organizations should maintain supportive environments where 2SLGBTQAI+ individuals can feel safe, valued, and accepted, thereby reducing the stigma surrounding their identities.
We stand in solidarity with the 2SLGBTQAI+ community and strive for a world where every individual can enjoy the same rights and opportunities to experience mental well-being, regardless of who they are.
We care about you. If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, call 1-800-784-2433 (1-800-SUICIDE), any time of day or night.
MindMapBC is a custom-made database of outpatient mental health services including professional counselling, peer counselling, support groups, and others, which is focused on services that are affirming of 2SLGBTQAI+ people. Where possible, MindMapBC has also selected services that are free, low-cost, or sliding scale, and self-referral services—meaning you do not need to see a doctor before accessing the service. https://www.mindmapbc.ca/about-us