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A Note From Kiara: June 2023

Dear Community,

This month, and always, Jefferson Center stands proud with our LGBTQIA+ clients, community and our team. Pride month is a time of celebration, reflection, and solidarity for the LGBTQIA+ community and its allies. It is about celebrating the beauty of being human, of the diverse ways that we show up in the world, and cultivating safety, support, and encouragement for each person to authentically express who they are.

As we commemorate this vibrant and empowering month, I want to take a moment to emphasize the intersectionality of mental health and the LGBTQIA+ community, and the importance of fostering compassion and understanding for others and embracing and valuing the diverse identities that we have as humans.

For many individuals within the LGBTQIA+ community, the journey toward self-acceptance and mental well-being can be triumphant and also incredibly painful along the way. Prejudice, discrimination and societal rejection and exclusion have significant mental health impacts for many LGBTQIA+ individuals. Additionally, the isolation and forced secrecy as a result of one’s identity, particularly in childhood and adolescence can lead to depression, anxiety, substance use and increased suicidal thoughts and behaviors. While mental health challenges and addictions can and do affect people across all ages and all walks of life, we have the collective ability to create safe and inclusive environments where everyone has the same opportunity to thrive, irrespective of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

At Jefferson Center, we recognize the unique mental health needs of the LGBTQIA+ community and strive to provide compassionate and affirming care. We are committed to offering services that are sensitive, inclusive, and tailored to the diverse experiences of LGBTQIA+ individuals. Through culturally competent care, we aim to address the specific challenges faced by the community and foster resilience, empowerment, and well-being.

It is crucial to remember that mental health care is not one-size-fits-all, and relevant, specialized resources and support are needed. As we celebrate Pride Month, we continue to advocate for increased access to mental health services specifically tailored to the needs of LGBTQIA+ individuals. By promoting equality in healthcare and dismantling discriminatory practices, we can ensure that mental well-being becomes a reality for all. Compassion starts with each one of us. Be intentional in your actions, embrace the principles of respect, acceptance, and love. By nurturing compassion within ourselves, we create a ripple effect that positively impacts our communities, workplaces, and homes. Through our words and actions, we can create an environment where others feel seen, heard, included and valued.

Connection is a powerful force in combating isolation, building compassion, and finding joy. By forging connections with individuals who are different from us, we expand our perspectives and foster a sense of unity. This Pride Month, I invite you to join us in celebrating diversity, fostering compassion, and advocating for mental health and wellbeing within the LGBTQIA+ community. Engage in respectful conversations with those who identify differently than you, attend LGBTQIA+ events and support local organizations that champion LGBTQIA+ rights and mental health initiatives.

At Jefferson Center, we believe in the dignity of all people, we respect and affirm the unique identity of each person and we pursue a world where mental health and wellness are accessible to ALL. We are proud to be a voice, an advocate, an ally for those who may not have the privilege or safety or the strength to do so on their own. Together, we can create a society that honors and supports the mental well-being of all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Thank you for your unwavering support as we work towards a more inclusive and compassionate future.

– Kiara Kuenzler, Psy.D., Licensed Psychologist, President and CEO

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