OUT FRONT Magazine
Addison Herron-Wheeler – May 26, 2020
To address the COVID-19 crisis, Envision:You—a non-profit, behavioral health advocacy and support organization serving the needs of Colorado’s LGBTQ+ community—announced the launch of a telehealth program. The mental health services provided under this program will assist members of the queer community who are experiencing greater behavioral health needs as a result of the unfolding, public health emergency.
According to Steven Haden, co-founder of Envision:You, “The idea is to provide short-term, no-cost services to help individuals with mental health, emotional and substance use issues and interpersonal relationship concerns that have arisen as a result of COVID-19. The behavioral health needs of queer individuals are more complex and the outcomes more distressing under usual circumstances, but as a result of the rapidly unfolding nature of the crisis, underlying concerns are exacerbated, and new challenges will arise.” Haden added, “we are grateful for our collaboration with Caring for Denver Foundation and their strong commitment to supporting the mental health needs of LGBTQ+ people.”
Behavioral health clinicians from Colorado Health Network (coloradohealthnetwork.org), Khesed Wellness (khesedwellness.com), and Youth Seen (youthseen.org) will provide the telehealth services as part of the Envision:You COVID-19 Behavioral Health Support Program. To connect with participating service providers, visit envision-you.org and click on the following symbol.
According to Heather Lundy Nelson, LPC, NCC, founder and CEO of Khesed Wellness, “LGBTQ+ people are at particular risk for roadblocks to affordable, high-quality, mental health care. In fact, the idea for Khesed Wellness began when I couldn’t find a mental health therapist I could afford while navigating suicidal ideation during my coming out process. Especially now, as we navigate the unique challenges posed to our LGBTQ+ community, we need access to free and affordable services.” Heather added, “We are thrilled to work with Caring for Denver and Envision:You to provide free services to displaced LGBTQ+ adults and youth impacted by the coronavirus.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected many people’s mental health and created new barriers for people already suffering from mental illness and substance use disorders. An unintended consequence of distancing is the loss of the social connections that protect LGBTQIA youth from stress, anxiety and depression. We are proud to support organizations in our community working to address these needs,” said Lorez Meinhold, executive director of the Caring for Denver Foundation.
Dr. Tara Jae, from Youth Seen, said, “We are very familiar with the negative psychological and physical impacts that discrimination has in our LGBTQ folx of color. With the onset of this pandemic, we are keenly aware and preparing for the long term effects we will have in our community as a result of instability and lack of access to resources, specifically around mental and physical health. To have the opportunity to expand our mental health and peer support by providing no financial hurdles will be essential for our QTBIPoC and QTPoC communities.”
Darrell Vigil, chief executive officer of the Colorado Health Network, talked about enhancing the mental health services provided by the organization. “It has become increasingly clear to us that in order to improve the wellbeing of our clients, we have to address more than just their physical health. As we have expanded our behavioral health services across Colorado we are committed to meeting our LGBTQ+ clients where they are especially during the COVID-19 crisis.”
- You live in Colorado.
- You identify as Queer or part of the LGBTQ+ community.
- You have been impacted by COVID-19.
- You do not have insurance to cover the cost of services.
About Caring for Denver
Caring for Denver Foundation was founded and funded with overwhelming voter support to address Denver’s mental health and substance misuse needs by growing community-informed solutions, dismantling stigma, and turning the community’s desire to help into action. To learn more, visit caring4denver.org
The Envision:You mission is to support, educate, and empower Colorado’s LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning) community living with a mental health or substance use disorder. To learn more, visit envision-you.org.
If you or someone you know is experiencing an emotional or mental health crisis, please contact Colorado Crisis Services by calling 844-493-8255, or text TALK to 38255.