June 23, 2022
The NAN Project Celebrates Pride Month 2022

          June is celebrated as LGBTQ Pride month across the world. In recognition of LGBTQ Pride month The Nan Project would like to highlight five mental health resources that LGBTQ youth can access year round. Throughout the article, we will be mentioning “drop-in centers,” which are places for people to hang out, connect with others in a variety of groups, and access resources such as healthcare supplies and food.

Drop-in Centers

          One center LGBTQ youth can go to is BAGLY in Boston, MA. BAGLY (The Boston Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth) is a drop-in center that is a part of the AGLY Network, which has locations across Massachusetts that offer resources and programs for LGBTQ youth. BAGLY specifically offers group therapy, a narrative art therapy group where youth create art based on therapeutic prompts, and free 101 therapy sessions affectionately called “Tea Time.” Therapy services are free and open to LGBTQ youth under the age of 25. You also do not need to have proof of identification or health insurance to receive these services. BAGLY also offers a variety of non-therapeutic social groups and programming as well as HIV/STI testing for LGBTQ youth under the age of 22. 

          Another drop-in center LGBTQ youth can go to is Boston GLASS (Gay & Lesbian Adolescent Social Services). Boston GLASS caters to LGBTQ people of color ages 13-29 and offers HIV/STI testing, PrEP access, as well as sexual wellness counselling. Additionally there is virtual or in-person therapy, in-home family therapy, and therapeutic monitoring offered. Similar to BAGLY, youth do not need insurance to receive services as all GLASS services are free. Youth can also attend a variety of social groups and events hosted by GLASS that cater to different interests and needs of the LGBTQ youth community. 

Other Community Resources

          One resource that serves both youth and their loved ones or caretakers is Greater Boston PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), where folks receive support and education around their/their child’s sexuality or gender identity. These support groups are run by parents of LGBTQ youth or adults and take place across Massachusetts. They also have a helpline people can call for resources and to have their questions answered if they cannot attend an in-person support group.

The Sidney Borum Jr. Health Center

          A favorite for healthcare across the local LGBTQ community, The Sidney Borum Jr Center in Boston provides mental health counseling, support groups for transgender youth and adults, substance abuse treatment, STD testing and treatment, and medical care. The Sidney Borum Jr Center takes most insurances.

          Finally, a virtual resource LGBTQ youth can access across the country is The Trevor Project, which has a helpline folks can call for support, as well as a text line and an online chat room they can use if they aren’t able to make a phone call. The chat room has a private feature that enables the user to close the tab with three taps of the “esc” button if they cannot show their family their computer screen for safety reasons. The Trevor Project also has online chat rooms that LGBTQ youth can use to connect with each other.

         These are not the only services available to LGBTQ youth in Massachusetts. There are a lot of organizations able and ready to serve the extensive and varying needs of LGBTQ youth, and we encourage you to reach out for either yourself or someone you know if you need it. 

Links to These Resources

BAGLY

https://www.bagly.org/  

(617) 227-4313

 

Boston GLASS

https://jri.org/services/health-and-housing/health/boston-glass

(857) 399-1920

 

Greater Boston PFLAG 

https://gbpflag.org/

(781) 891-5966

 

Sidney Borum Jr Health Center

https://fenwayhealth.org/info/locations/the-borum/ 

(617) 457-8140  

 

The Trevor Project

https://www.thetrevorproject.org/

(866) 488-7386 

Peer Coordinator Spotlight – Erica

Meet Our New Peer Coordinator, Erica!

Please join us in welcoming our newest Peer Coordinator, Erica, who came to The NAN Project four months ago. They have stepped right in to connect with students in the classroom and have begun shaping a new project with local colleges!

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I grew up outside of Washington DC, went to school in Cleveland, and then moved to the Boston area. I’ve been here ever since and love it! I’ve been playing ultimate Frisbee for a while, it’s a big passion of mine. I also like learning new recipes, looking after my many houseplants, and playing with my cat, Julep.

Does the Peer Coordinator position at The NAN Project fit into your personal goals?

I always knew I wanted to work face-to-face with people in a helping role. What better way to do that than to share my mental health journey with others to make them feel less alone, and perhaps get people to seek help earlier? It gives me hope to hear the way students speak about mental health in the classroom. I think that self-awareness, especially when practiced at a younger age, gives people a greater chance of leading healthy and balanced lives.

What strategies do you employ in managing your own mental health?

Erica’s Cat Julep

I love this question because I think it probably changes from year to year as I get to know myself better. Currently what works for me is going to bed on time, leaving time and space for me to feel my feelings, exercising regularly, and talking to my therapist.

What has been notable in your presentations to students in the classroom?

The first thing I notice is that students are much more aware of mental health in general than when I was at their age. There are a lot of student questions wondering what will happen once they ask for help, and worries that reaching out might not help them. We encourage people not to give up, to keep reaching out and fighting for themselves. Everyone is worthy of help, and no one is beyond help. I tell students, “While you might not get exactly what you need right away, help is out there for you.” I think the Comeback Stories we share in schools reflect that learning what you need and how to get it is a process, and does improve over time. Another common theme among student questions is how to help a friend who might be struggling, which is something we do cover in our messaging. It’s encouraging that so many people want to be supportive friends!

How do you like to spend your free time?

I play for a few ultimate Frisbee teams in the Boston area throughout the year. When I’m on the field, I am fully engaged and focused on what I’m doing. It gets me running around outside (in the warmer months), and I get to see old friends and meet new people. I also have an ever-growing houseplant collection–I love watching my plants change throughout the seasons, and learn what they need by paying attention to them.

What do you hope for your future?

I want to learn more about the professional career options in the mental health field, as this is my first time working in the mental health space. Whether I pursue another degree or not, I want to be a support to the communities of which I am a part.

May 18, 2022
First In-Person Presentations to Lawrence High School

 Today we wrapped up our last of three days of presentations to 222 Lawrence High School 9th graders. This was our first time doing presentations in-person to Lawrence High School students and we’re excited to continue this connection. Our Clinical Director, Donna, also led a QPR training for cultural specialists at Lawrence, to offer staff more resources to help students that may be struggling with their mental health.

May 12, 2022
Presentations to North Reading High School and CHNA15 Showcase

Today, we wrapped up our second day of presentations to sophomores at North Reading High School. We also attended CHNA15’s showcase, where we tabled and and talked to other organizations who were awarded grants by CHNA15. Our grant was for student programming and professional development for staff in Woburn. We appreciate being able to take part in this event, and are thankful for CHNA15’s support!

May 10, 2022
Presentations to 82 8th Graders at McCall Middle School

Over the past two days, we have presented to 4 classes of 8th graders at McCall Middle School in Winchester. They just wrapped up their mental health unit on depression and had very poignant questions and comments about mental health challenges and recovery. We look forward to returning!

May 5, 2022
Presentations to 9th Graders at Milford High School

Today our team returned to Milford High School and presented to three classes of 9th grade students. The students had thoughtful responses on how best to help a friend who is struggling and how to connect them with a trusted adult. Ms. Hochberger shared the homemade tacos cooked with the help of students in her nutrition class, which was such a treat! We look forward to continuing our work with more students at Milford next year.

May 4, 2022
Tabling in Danvers and Wakefield

Today, we tabled at two separate different events for DanversCARES and Wakefield Mental Health Community Forum. For the DanversCARES Light the Night Purple Walk for Substance Use Awareness, the color guard from the Danvers High School Marching Band headed off the one-mile walk in honor of substance use awareness. The walk was followed by a Danvers High School acapella group, and a story of recovery from addiction. The ceremony ended with the lighting of luminaries. At both events, our team connected with some of our school partners and made new connections. We thank the communities of Wakefield and Danvers for allowing us to join them in bringing awareness to substance use and mental health.

Presentations at North Reading High School

Over the past two days, we have presented to over 150 students at North Reading High School. We were so pleased to hear firsthand from students that they appreciated our stories and that many had trusted adults at school that they check-in with regularly. We were happy to have two of our newly trained Peer Mentors join us for the first time today. We’ll be back at North Reading High School next week to speak with more classes!

May 3, 2022
The NAN Project Recognized During Children’s Mental Health Week

Today, The NAN Project was honored to be recognized, along with the Malden Police Department and Eliot Community Services, during Mayor Christenson’s Children’s Mental Health Week Proclamation. We appreciate this especially after our work last summer with The Malden Police Department, offering QPR Suicide Prevention Training and Mental Health 101 to officers alongside representatives from Eliot Family Resource Center and the PACT (Program for Assertive Community Treatment) Team. We look forward to continuing our work in Malden and serving youth during Children’s Mental Health Week and year-round!

April 29, 2022
Presentation at the American Association of Suicidology Conference in Chicago

Today, The NAN Project team was in Chicago for the American Association of Suicidology conference! Jake our Executive Director, Donna our Clinical Director, and Lizzie our Assistant Director presented a workshop about our peer-to-peer model and far-reaching impact on students and community stakeholders across MA to an audience of nearly 100 people. We have really enjoyed connecting with different organizations these past couple days doing the important work of suicide prevention across the nation. Our first out of state conference was a huge success, and we look forward to more in the future!

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