OutBermuda teams up with Solstice to offer counselling
Counselling assistance and a support group for Bermuda’s LGBTQ community is on offer through a collaboration between a charity and a mental health wellness centre.
OutBermuda has teamed with Solstice, a holistic wellness centre based on Hamilton, to offer the service – along with education and training to promote equality and diversity.
A monthly support group called Outlet is to launch on February 20.
Zakiya Johnson, deputy chair of OutBermuda, said the move was aimed at heading off “some of the damaging impacts of discrimination and marginalisation all too present on our island”.
Mental health should be nurtured on a par with physical health, she added.
“Our collaboration with Solstice is an offering to our community, not as an indication that we are more inherently prone to challenges, but rather to acknowledge that the negative environmental factors and stigmatisation often imposed by family and the wider community can take their toll on the mental health of members of our community.”
Through the partnership, LGBTQ residents will have access to up to eight one-on-one counselling sessions through Solstice by self-referral – with OutBermuda covering the co-pay, or the full amount for those without insurance.
The two will also collaborate on training for service providers catering to the LGBTQ population.
Jade Temple, senior clinical psychologist at Solstice, said the centre was “passionate about mental health and an ally to the LGBTQ community”.
The programme was “accessible, safe and welcoming”, she added.
“We look forward to continuing our work with OutBermuda for many years to come.”
The two thanked Clarien Bank for its support in realising the programme.
Michael DeCouto, the bank’s executive vice-president and chief digital and marketing officer, said that in seeking to be an employer of choice, the bank had worked internally to ensure all staff felt “safe and welcome in bringing their full selves to work – regardless of their race, gender and sexuality”.
“These efforts extend beyond the four walls of the Bank, as we look to support like-minded organisations that are doing their part to promote diversity and inclusion in Bermuda.”
Mr DeCouto added: “We trust that as people are provided a safe and nurturing community in which to share, listen and belong, they will in turn feel empowered to be more of their true and authentic selves.”
Tiffany Paynter, OutBermuda’s executive director, said the group aimed to ensure that the island’s LGBTQ community was Safe, valued, seen and thriving“.
“As we continue to consult with and listen to our local community, we’re better placed to provide solutions that move us towards that goal.
“Outlet and our one-on-one counselling sessions are solutions that help us to better support the mental health needs of our community, and we’re grateful for Clarien’s generosity.”
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