WELLINGTON COUNTY – Officials with Family Counselling and Support Services for Guelph-Wellington (FCSSGW) say a recent donation will help provide “lifesaving” services for rural Wellington youths who identify as LGBTQ+.
A $10,000 gift from 100 Women Who Care Rural Wellington is expected to fund the development and delivery of LGBTQ+ pilot programming in partnership with the Youth Hub in Fergus and the Upper Grand District School Board.
It is expected to start this fall.
“LGBTQ+ youth have a heightened risk of suicide and self-harm,” stated FCSSGW executive director Joanne Young Evans in a March 29 press release.
“The services that this joint project will create are lifesaving to the young people living in these rural communities without access to this specialized type of support.”
Officials say there is currently no funded therapy for LGBTQ+ youths – and little in terms of available services.
100 Women Who Care representative Somer Antonopoulos stated the funding is needed “now more than ever” in rural Wellington.
“Rising mental health concerns attributed to isolation and COVID-19 is a sad reality, but having an easily accessible place for people to get help and tools is a game changer,” she said.
In conjunction with the new program, LGBTQ+ youths can also access free same-day mental health clinics that run Mondays in Mount Forest and Thursdays in Fergus.
A same-day clinic runs Wednesdays in Guelph with fees based on a sliding scale.
FCSSGW also operates a free, anonymous and confidential distress line (1-888-821-3760) that is available to all Wellington County and area residents seven days a week.
“Without the generosity of this amazing group of women, marginalized LGBTQ+ youth could face a much different outcome,” stated Young Evans.
“We cannot thank [100 Women Who Care] enough for recognizing how this project can alter the trajectory of this demographic and actually save lives throughout the county.”
Young Evans said she is hopeful FCSSGW will secure additional funding to continue addressing “this critical need in the community.”
For more information about 100 Women Who Care Rural Wellington, visit 100wwcrw.com.
For more about FCSSGW visit www.FamilyServiceGuelph.on.ca.