Our mission is to walk with people through counseling and education to find hope and healing—and to live a fulfilling life.
Early on in my time at the Center, I had a conversation with an esteemed therapist who described the importance of how the healing process happens here. I was told that we’re not here to fix people, but to meet them where they are and then walk together–to accompany them as they navigate the challenges they are facing at that moment in time. We don’t diagnose what’s broken and needs to be fixed. The people we serve are God’s children, imbued with dignity, who need loving presence and care.
Another important part of our mission is to help as many people as possible regardless of their ability to pay. All our stakeholders wish we could help more as the needs are great and access to mental health services has been an ongoing crisis for too long.
One group we support in our mission includes clients working through issues of gender and sexual orientation/identity. I admire the courage they show as they work on questions of understanding, accepting and living their core, true selves despite how the world may view and treat them. Their stories of resilience in the face of fear, confusion and adversity are inspiring.
The struggles are real. I’m happy the Center and others in the healing profession can be there for those in need of expert companions, especially kids who have challenges in abundance these days. The reality of such struggles often leads to tragic outcomes. If you’re not aware of The Trevor Project, check out their website:
- Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people aged 10 to 24 (Hedegaard, Curtin, & Warner, 2018) — and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth are at significantly increased risk.
- LGBTQ youth are more than four times as likely to attempt suicide than their peers (Johns et al., 2019; Johns et al., 2020).
- The Trevor Project estimates that more than 1.8 million LGBTQ youth (13-24) seriously consider suicide each year in the U.S. — and at least one attempts suicide every 45 seconds.
- The Trevor Project’s 2022 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health found that 45% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth.
It’s not an easy read. The numbers of this tragedy are stark.
It’s not a big leap to tie a culture of fear, bullying, and the need to separate and blame the “other” to what Pope Saint John Paul II called a “Culture of Death.” Against such hatred and injustice we are all called to struggle alongside those to whom the hatred is directed. Such support is especially true for those whose values and traditions mandate them to love their neighbors as themselves.
If you want to dig even deeper in research, give this a read:
I support these colleagues, mental health professional experts in training, science and research, who recognize how important affirming care is for the population. We are the professionals who deal in reality, not politics nor polls or faulty rhetoric. The hope is to keep the kids alive until they are old enough to sort out the questions of identity. Every day we offer hope and healing as we know that for many kids and adults, the culture offers despair so deep that the only option they can see to end the pain is to take their own lives tragically. The culture wars are not a playground.
I wish we all could enter the sacred space of the offices and the relationships our therapists share with their clients. That everyone,
Could listen to the raw stories of the harvest of what the seeds bullying, sectarianism and hatred produce. Could listen to the experience of the trauma resulting from being rejected by families, faith communities and civic leaders sworn to protect them. Could listen to the stories of other human beings who are struggling to understand themselves and what it means to be loved–the same struggles we all share.