The British Columbia Schizophrenia Society is beginning a new project for the LGTB community. The project will provide private online support groups for LGTB persons who care about/for a loved one with a mental illness, such as psychosis, depression, mood disorders, anxiety disorders or schizophrenia.
Family members and supporters of persons with mental illness sometimes feel isolated and disconnected with services, and can benefit from peer support. LGTB families may be reluctant to access resources, fearing discrimination. ‘Family member’ in this context means our kinds of families – ex-partners, old friends, room-mates, lovers as well as siblings, cousins, parents, wives and husbands.
The group is an online bulletin board, that is only visible to registered group members, open 24 hours a day. It’s moderated, and you don’t have to use your real name to increase your privacy. It’s meant to be a safe place to discuss the challenges, experiences, questions and successes that go with supporting someone with a mental illness.
The project is looking for volunteer LGTB family members/supporters who are willing to participate in the online group over the first two months, in order to get it established. Volunteer commitment would involve logging in to the group every couple of days at their convenience and initiating or participating in discussion. Participants are welcome to use their real name or a pseudonym and can live anywhere in BC.
Information on resources available to help people caring for a partner, friend or other family member with a mental illness will be provided as well.
For more information, please contect the project coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or register on the system at www.support.bcss.org Note, the group has just been launched, so there might not be much discussion yet, but you can help out by initiating a topic or responding to one to get things started. There are also some good resources already posted in the group space. The coordinator is an out lesbian and can help refer people to lesbian and LGTB friendly resources.
Information on services for family members is available at the BCSS Website at www.bcss.org
Funding for this project was provided by BC Partners for Mental Health and Addictions Information