Commitment and a Call to Action
At Hexagon Psychology, we recognize that to be allies and mental health providers to the 2SLGBTQIA+ community it takes much more than displaying a rainbow during pride month. Our goal is to create and maintain safer spaces and practitioners that you can count on.
We want the 2SLGBTQIA+ community to feel safe and supported wherever they choose to access services, so we are creating a call to action for all mental health professionals to find and access the information to provide inclusive and affirming care.
While many of us may believe we and our spaces are supportive, there are small ways that we may not be. From our language, forms, and bathrooms, our intentions can be undermined in harmful ways. While we at Hexagon Psychology are working our way through this process, we are connecting with organizations who provide information on these basics, and most importantly provide accurate up-to-date recommendations based both on research and the voiced needs of the community.
The Airdrie Pride Society provides accessible training that many Hexagon practitioners have accessed through the society’s partnership with Rocky View Schools. Skipping Stone Foundation, based in Calgary, also runs training including more specialized training for mental health practitioners to become Trans affirming providers. As part of the trans-affirming network (TAN), practitioners can be more easily found by those seeking affirming services as well as continue their competency with access to group case consultations. All funds paid to these trainings go back to programming and supports for the community. Currently, there are only two Trans Affirming Network certified providers in Airdrie. Hexagon Psychology’s very own Candice Kutyn and Holeigh Urquhart out of Bloom Narratives.
It is well evidenced that 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals are at higher risk of experiencing mental health symptoms, and suicidal thoughts, however, we must understand that this is not due to gender or sexual diversity, but the lack of acceptance inherent in our society and systems. This then extends to barriers in accessing and receiving care.
As Psychologists, Social Workers, and Therapists we have a duty to provide services based on best practices, and currently, this is encompassed by the gender affirmative model. The World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH) compiles research and best practices in their Standards of Care which is accessible at no cost.
Whether you want to seek to understand how to make your practice and spaces safer, understand the barriers to care, or develop your clinical skills in affirming mental health practices, we all can do better.
Hesitation may rise in you when considering being openly affirmative in your practice. This hesitation can be a result of not wanting to make others uncomfortable. Considering asking yourself this. Do the people I want to keep comfortable require my protection in our society, or would the use of my voice create inclusivity and protection for those who need it most?
Photo by cottonbro: https://www.pexels.com/photo/photo-of-persons-hands-doing-high-five-3693912/