by Shaun Hittle
With a theme of “lighting the way” for LGBT persons suffering from mental health problems, a coalition of sponsors and advocates will be holding a mental health forum Jan. 11, from 2 to 5 p.m. at Western Michigan University. The event, titled “Project Light,” will feature various national and statewide speakers who will discuss the issue of mental health relating to LGBT persons.
Project Light organizer Adam Taylor, a social work student at WMU, came up with the idea for the forum after attending a vigil in Holland for a 16 year-old transgendered person who recently committed suicide. For Taylor, the suicide highlighted the mental health issues that LGBT persons face, and Taylor cited the fact that roughly one in three LGBT persons contemplate, commit, or attempt suicide at some point in their life.
Taylor said that he hopes the event will provide resources and information to those LGBT persons suffering with mental health problems. “They don’t know where to go,” said Taylor of LGBT youth and adults suffering from mental health issues. The event, said Taylor, will be aimed at changing that by featuring informational tables from various community agencies.
The event is free and open to the public, and will have food and refreshments as well as LGBT comedian Mike Neubecker.
What?: Project Light mental health forum at Western Michigan University
Why?: To provide educational resources and information about mental health issues LGBT persons face
When?: Friday, Jan. 11 from 2pm -5pm
Where?: On the campus of Western Michigan University, at the Wesley Foundation
Who’s speaking?: Rev. Julie Nemeck, Former Assistant Dean and Professor at Spring Arbor University; Vincent John Rager, a gay WMU student; Shannon Garcia, President of Trans Youth Advocates; Luanne Cali, Volunteer for the American Federation for Suicide Prevention; and Sharon Roepke, Coordinator of the Cultural and Linguistic Competency Committee of Kalamazoo Wraps.