Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center Executive Director Ayesha Holmes has announced a week-long social media campaign to raise awareness and increase acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community.
“During PRIDE month, we want to remind everyone that Grassroots is a Safe Space, and our counselors are dedicated to serving people who are struggling with issues of self-identify, especially those with mental health concerns,” Holmes noted. “We don’t want people to feel they are alone. We are ready to be of help,” she added.
Grassroots, a Howard County-based non-profit, provides 24-hour crisis intervention, suicide prevention, and support to individuals and families with a mental health, substance use or homelessness crisis. The organization recognized the need for increased understanding, acceptance and support of the LGBTQ+ community and created a Safe Space program three years ago.
In addition to support for individuals, Grassroots is providing a competency training for professionals and community members on the subject of LGBTQ+ and Suicide. The aim is to reduce the incidence of suicidality within the LGBTQ+ community by moving society from tolerance to acceptance of it.
Safe Space training discusses how to better support LGBTQ+ individuals and their loved ones in accessing care and treatment, differences in acceptance and tolerance, the history and evolution of language in the LGBTQ+ community, sexuality issues and gender specific issues, and their impacts on mental health.
Grassroots counselors recognize the special needs of Black, indigenous and people of color who are members of the LGBTQ+ community and are prepared to support them.
Grassroots has seen an increase in calls to its hotline since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and callers indicate their mental and emotional health has been affected by fear and uncertainty. This situation is worsened for people who are struggling with other issues, such as their self-identity and acceptance.
“We want LGBTQ+ people to know that, through the isolation they may be experiencing, the questions about identity they may be exploring, and potential low support they may be met with, Grassroots is here for you,” said Maggie McCleary, LGBTQ Programming Consultant. “You have a safe space with us.”
Grassroots’ PRIDE social media series will include personal stories and Safe Space training information for members of the LGBTQ+ community as well as the general public. See the Friends of Grassroots Crisis Intervention Facebook Page and @friendsofgrassroots on Instagram.