Thanks to a generous grant from the Canadian Women’s Foundation, SPECTRUM was able to partner with Wisdom2Action to develop a Trans and Gender Diverse Mental Health, Wellness and Suicide Prevention Toolkit.
In our grant application we noted that, based on the Trans PULSE Study and the local OutLook Study, as well as anecdotal information from our drop-in groups, there was evidence that pre-COVID a large portion of transgender identifying folks in Waterloo Region had not come out of the closet or found that many people in their life were un-supportive or worse, abusive. This in turn subjected these folks to high levels of mental health stress. We recognized that this situation was being aggravated by the isolation due to the COVID-19 public health emergency and the resulting close contact of individuals in un-supportive or abusive environments where they had become a captive audience.
This was the genesis for our project application for which we had two primary objectives:
First, we wanted to develop, publish, and analyse an anonymous community survey asking, among many other things, how COVID-19 isolation was affecting local transgender and non-binary people’s mental and physical health. From this group of respondents, we also wanted to interview a select few to do a deeper dive on mental health challenges. In addition, the Wisdom2Action team conducted an in-depth literature review. The information collected was used to shape the toolkit.
The second part of this project was to develop a toolkit focused on mental health promotion and suicide prevention to be used by transgender identifying folks (people in crisis), and mental health and medical health professionals and transgender allies (people who support those in crisis). We felt such information organized into a toolkit would be very useful to the community during and after the public health emergency.
On September 28, 2021, we held a community forum to share details about the information we gathered and the process of designing the toolkit. You can watch a recording of this session here.
The toolkit is now being printed and we will send physical copies to all local schools, hospitals, community counselling agencies, family health teams, and many social service agencies. A digital version of the toolkit is available to everyone for download here.
SPECTRUM would like to thank the Wisdom2Action team for their hard work in bringing this valuable toolkit to life in a very short space of time. We are also extremely grateful to the Canadian Women’s Foundation for recognizing the importance of this work and making it possible.