SPRINGFIELD — It can be challenging to come to grips emotionally when someone in the LGBTQ+ community is in an environment where coming out was less than positive for them. Individuals face similar challenges in preparing themselves for coming out in a manner that they control. Starting in January, members of the community will be able to join MHA’s new LGBTQ+ support groups, where youth and young adults can navigate through often-difficult circumstances with support, understanding, empowerment, and control.
Beginning Jan. 20, the Safe Space Support and Educational Group for LGBTQ+ individuals ages 18-25 will meet every Monday from 2 to 3 p.m. Beginning Jan. 22, the Safe Space Support and Educational Group for LGBTQ+ individuals ages 13-17 will meet every Wednesday from 4 to 5 p.m. Both groups will meet at MHA’s BestLife Emotional Health and Wellness Center, 147 Magazine St., Springfield.
“The benefits of support groups for individuals who identify as LGBTQ+ include feeling less lonely, isolated, or judged; gaining a sense of empowerment and control; improving coping skills and sense of adjustment; talking openly and honestly about their feelings; and reducing distress, depression, or anxiety,” said Sara Kendall, vice president of Clinical Operations for MHA. “Being part of a clinician-facilitated group can help group members work to overcome obstacles, build working relationships, and support each other as they learn to self-navigate in the community. Community members and friends can help individuals in a number of ways, but the support provided by a group of people who have had similar experiences is even more powerful. Through shared experience, our LGBTQ+ support groups will help members build a healthy, positive lifestyle through participating and understanding.”
Kimberley Lee, vice president of Resource Development & Branding for MHA, noted that MHA’s new support groups are made possible by a grant from Eversource, “which is allowing MHA to reinforce the services of our BestLife Emotional Health and Wellness Center for anyone who wants to start a conversation about mental health. That could include individuals facing the emotional challenges that can be involved in coming out and living their identity with confidence in the community. MHA wants to applaud Eversource both for their generosity and for their insight and sensitivity in helping us serve this population, which experiences higher incidences of mental-health challenges.”
Michael Vedovelli, Eversource’s manager of Community Relations & Economic Development – Massachusetts, added that “we’re proud to support the important services MHA provides. This partnership is based on our mutual commitment to empower individuals through education and opportunity. MHA’s long history of quality services provides tools people need to fully participate, as members of the community.”
For more information on the new LGBTQ support groups, call (844) MHA-WELL.