From Facebook to face-to-face

OCARTA sponsors Seeking Balance, a mental health support group for LGBTQ people 21 and up.

by Emma Rose Kraus
Journalism Intern

For many in the LGBTQ community it can be difficult to find help for mental illness. Many support groups are not as efficient at dealing with those who need help who are not straight.

Instead of seeking help in person, many people in the LGBTQ community join online support groups. This is what Lonny Stuard-Baggott, LGBTQ Coordinator and Community Service Advocate at OCARTA, did on Facebook.

When the administrator of the group Stuard-Baggott was a part of took a leave of absence Stuard-Baggott was granted the task of being the new admin, but he decided to take things to another level.

“I just thought, ‘Well, why just do this on Facebook? Let’s do this face-to-face.’” He says.

The support group, called “Seeking Balance”, is for people 21 and up in the LGBTQ community struggling with mental illness.

“It’s for our community to have somewhere to go and to have a support group with others who are also battling with mental health issues.”

Stuard-Baggott, who himself struggles with mental health stresses the importance of mental health support within the LGBTQ community and his mission with the “Seeking Balance” is to make it a bit easier to find help.

“In the LGBTQ community one thing that kind of goes hand-in-hand is mental health. We all have one issue or another dealing with mental health whether it be depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, anything along those lines. This is a place where you can come, sit down and actually discuss and get a few of those things off your chest.”

If you wish to attend “Seeking Balance” meetings are Saturdays at 4 p.m. at OCARTA, located at 2808 NW 31st St, Oklahoma City, OK 73112.

For younger readers there is another support group, called “Subject to Change” for ages 15 to 20 which has just started having meetings.

If you wish to help these and other groups like “Seeking Balance” and “Subject to Change” OCARTA is currently accepting donations.

Copyright 2016 The Gayly – November 3, 2016 @ 10:15 a.m.