Project Spotlight: Gilbert Centre for Social Support Services

QT Youth Connection Discord

Providing 2SLGBTQIA+ youth in Simcoe County with access to supportive spaces and activities.


Queer, transgender, and questioning youth ages 12 to 19 in Simcoe County



  • Build resilience for 2SLGBTQIA+ youth in Simcoe County by reducing social isolation and related mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, through engagement in a virtual community space (i.e., Discord)


Primary approach:

  • The QT Youth Connection Discord Server features multiple different subject text channels to engage youth in conversations on a range of topics that support their mental health.

Additional approaches:

  • Offers youth access to evidence-based mental health supports both virtually and in-person (i.e., youth groups) through partnership with New Path Youth and Family Services and Catholic Family Services.
  • Delivers virtual 2SLGBTQIA+ 101 workshops to classrooms to provide education and resources to youth and teachers.



  • Online
  • Community
  • School

Implementation sites

  • Simcoe County, ON


2SLGBTQIA+ youth and families are at greater risks of poorer mental health outcomes including social isolation, anxiety, depression, etc.

The COVID-19 pandemic disproportionality impacted 2SLGBTQIA+ youth with many youth reporting:

  • Impacts on their ability to maintain social ties.
  • Greater family-related stress due to an unsupportive home environment.
  • Limited access to trans and non-binary social support spaces.

There is an identified need and demand for increasing available virtual 2SLGBTQIA+ youth supports in Simcoe County.

In the words of the project team members

“The idea of the Discord server is to create a community where youth can come and feel a part of what is there and what is being created. One of the big parts of our server is to have them talk about what they want in the server, what kind of things that they want to see. And I think that is a big component of what we do, is finding out what youth need from their own perspectives, and then trying to offer that to them.”

Key protective factors

  • Cultural connectedness and identity
  • Resiliency
  • Social identity/belonging
  • Social networks
  • Involvement in community and group activities
  • Safe and secure environments (e.g., home, public, digital, cultural and religious)

Key approaches

  • Peer support
  • Wrap-around model of care
  • Culturally safe/informed