STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) — The Shenandoah Valley LGBTQ Center provides a safe space for the LGBTQ community in the valley to find information on mental and physical health.
Emily Sproul is the executive director of the organization. Sproul said the center has works with communities in the Valley to educate them on how to be more affirming on the LGBTQ community.
Throughout the pandemic, the center has tried various ways to stay connected, including weekly online check-ins, youth groups and picnics in parks.
“Specifically it is not mental health support, but it does support the mental health of our clients to be able to connect with each other, to have a safe space just to talk and catch up, be social and feel as normal as we can during this time,” Sproul explained.
Sproul said family conflict is aggravated by the stress and isolation of the pandemic.
“We’ve had a lot of people who are calling looking for mental health resources that we have been able to refer to some of our partners like ARROW and Allied Transformations. We refer folks to them and they can do telehealth. We’re also just a place people call to talk things through sometimes,” Sproul said.
Sproul said one thing the organization learned, is to be proactive.
“Depression is incredibly difficult and prevalent during this time and it makes it difficult for people to reach out when they need help. We have to be proactive. We call and text our regular clients to make sure that they are doing okay and to see if they need anything,” Sproul explained.
The Shenandoah Valley LGBTQ Center plans to hold a picnic this Saturday, October 17,