QT Youth Connection Discord
The project QT Youth Connection Discord is a virtual drop-in community space for queer, transgender, and questioning youth aged 12 to 29 in Simcoe County that provides youth with access to supportive spaces and activities in order to build resilience by reducing social isolation and related mental health impacts due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Lead organization: Gilbert Centre for Social and Support Services
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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
“It’s always been about centering youth and their voices. So that even led us right down to the platform of choice for our virtual programming. We took a platform that was youth friendly, and that youth were already making use of, and we did the work to adopt that for service delivery.”
Key protective factors
- Social identity/belonging
- Social networks
- Involvement in community and group activities
- Peer support
- Wrap-around model of care
- Culturally safe/informed