Envision:You awarded grant to create peer support programs for LGBTQ+

EnvisionYou

Envision:You has been awarded a grant from The Colorado Health Foundation to create a peer support program to provide spaces of support for LGBTQ+ people living in rural communities across Colorado. Envision:You will use the $50,000 grant to develop program curriculum and hire two peer community coordinators to serve southern Colorado.

The Envision:You peer support program will consist of a network of LGBTQ+ peer community coordinators who will provide support to other LGBTQ+ folks within their community. The program will create more equitable health outcomes for the LGBTQ+ community by helping LGBTQ+ Coloradans, regardless of their identity, age, race, or geographic location, to:

  • Address their mental health concerns with peers.
  • Develop positive relationship with their sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • Increase their social connections.
  • Access clinical support if needed and when ready.
  • Build community and reduce isolation in rural spaces.

“We are grateful to the Foundation for supporting Envision:You’s peer support program,” said Steven Haden, CEO and co-founder of Envision:You. “Individuals who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community often feel invisible in rural areas where there is a major lack of culturally relevant behavioral health services. Peer support is a proven protective factor that will improve mental health outcomes and reduce the risk of suicide for LGBTQ+ individuals living in rural communities.”

Peer support is provided by people who have been successful in their mental health recovery and use their lived experience to help others going through similar situations. Based on empirical evidence compiled by Mental Health America, peer support increases engagement in services and quality of life outcomes while showing a significant decrease in substance use and a reduction in re-hospitalization and overall cost of services.

“The Colorado Health Foundation is excited to partner with Envision:You as they create a peer support program to serve the LGBTQ+ community living in rural Colorado,” said Dustin Moyer, program officer, The Colorado Health Foundation. “We are confident their work will help to advance health equity in the state.”

As part of the peer support program, workshops will be held in communities in southwest Colorado (Durango, Pagosa Springs, Cortez, Alamosa, Ouray, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and Southern Ute Indian Tribe) and southeast Colorado (Pueblo, La Junta, Walsenburg, Trinidad and Lamar). The workshops will cover 24 psychoeducational modules that will help individuals understand more about their diagnosis, build connections, provide coping skills and find resources. Groups will start out virtually and transition to in-person when safe to do so.

“Most LGBTQ+ individuals are not raised in families or community environments that reflect their sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Steven Haden, CEO and co-founder of Envision:You. “This program brings peer support to their community to validate who they are as a LGBTQ+ individual and support them on their journey.”

Envision:You

The mission of Envision:You is to support, educate, and empower members of Colorado’s LGBTQ+ community who are living with a mental health or substance use disorder. The mental health challenges Envision:You are addressing have deep roots and solutions are complex. Undeterred, Envision:You has committed to improving the mental health of Colorado’s LGBTQ+ community with a multifaceted approach in collaboration with partners from around the state. Facebook: www.envision-you.com

The Colorado Health Foundation

The Colorado Health Foundation is bringing health in reach for all Coloradans by engaging closely with communities across the state through investing, policy advocacy, learning and capacity building.

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