For over 10 years, Southern Utah University has hosted an LGBTQIA+ Support Group to benefit those experiencing common issues within the community.
The group meets every Wednesday from 1-2 p.m. through a Zoom call. The group, like the Counseling & Psychological Services’ group focused on grief and loss, does not require any advanced permission from the organization to join. Members can attend as many meetings as they deem necessary and do not have to attend any certain number of meetings.
Blaine Edwards, the CAPS mental health counselor who coordinates the meetings, believes that the primary goal of the support group is to help students form connections.
“The support group is a place for members of the LGBTQIA+ community to get together and connect,” Edwards said. “They can share stories, they can share connections and they can talk about support and an overall variety of things.”
CAPS also hosts their Disability Resource Center Workshops on Thursdays at 3 p.m. and their Grief and Loss Support Group on Mondays from noon to 1 p.m. These also do not require any registration and are free to the SUU community.
Edwards also mentioned the importance of these other support groups and how they can differ from the LGBTQIA+ group.
“The CAPS groups are a means of providing services for students at a lot of different levels,” Edwards explained. “Some of our groups are ‘workshop’ in nature so folks can get psycho-educational material. They can come in and learn skills, they can learn coping strategies and all different kinds of aspects there.”
CAPS also offers therapy-based groups where students can learn about deeper psychological topics.
“We also offer therapy groups that are ranging in topic,” Edwards said. “They give folks who are seeking a more in-depth therapy experience that involves connecting with other students, seeking and giving support and learning from each other.”
Edwards also mentioned how being active in a support group could vary from an individual-based program.
“Sometimes there are things that folks can do in groups that they might not otherwise be able to explore,” Edwards noted.
Edwards also encourages those who are considering seeking help via the CAPS groups to attend an event, even if it means only attending a single meeting.
“I think my advice would be to give it a try,” Edwards said. “If it’s a drop-in group, just go. If it’s a therapy group, reach out to one of the therapists at CAPS or the front-desk staff at CAPS and ask questions about it and see if one of our therapy groups might be a good fit for you.”
Edwards encourages those who are interested in joining the support group to visit the CAPS website or to call (435) 865-8621 for information about the appointment-based groups. Students can find the Zoom links for the drop-in meetings for the weekly DRC Workshops, Grief and Loss Support Group and the LGBTQIA+ support group in the groups section of the page.
Article by: Luke McKenzie
Photo courtesy of Tim Mossholder on Unsplash