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