#Centre for Gender Advocacy
#gender identity
#mental health
#sexual orientation
26 March 2019

I have been experiencing very difficult times from many years ago, fighting major depression,  anxiety and a wide range of problems regarding my sexual identity and orientation

I have been experiencing very difficult times from many years ago, fighting major depression,  anxiety and a wide range of problems regarding my sexual identity and orientation. Seeing different therapists and taking antidepressant medications remedied some of the symptoms. However, since about six months ago that I migrated to Montreal, I am looking for professional help from a psychologist/psychotherapist/etc who is knowledgeable and experienced with depression/anxiety and sexual identity issues.
I would be grateful if you could introduce me or let me know where I can find the help.
Thank you very much

Hey! First of all, thank you for trusting us with your question. Accessing mental health care in relation to your sexual orientation and identity is complicated because there are not a lot of health practitioners that specialize in both those subjects. I’ve been looking for help related to those questions for a little while now, so I will tell you about my journey and link to the resources I found. 

I came out as a lesbian in 2014, when I was 22 years old, and as trans in 2016. Being in the closet for that long really impacted my mental health. I come from a conservative and dysfunctional family, and that mixed with my gay and trans identity made a good cocktail for a bunch of mental health problems.

In Québec, you have access to two categories of mental health services, public and private. If you are covered under the RAMQ, then you can access public mental health services, but sadly there are not a lot of public services that offer help regarding sexual orientation and identity. The best one would be the McGill University Sexual Identity Centre (MUSIC). They have a 6 months+ waiting list, but they offer amazing specialized services for members of the LGBTQ+ community. It is not specified on their website, but they also offer mental health care about gender identity, but they cannot offer help to access hormonal replacement therapy or gender affirming surgeries. 

The McGill University Sexual Identity Centre provides specialized mental health care to individuals, couples and families with sexual orientation issues. Our clientele includes people who are questioning their sexual orientation or who feel unhappy about it, individuals and couples seeking to improve the quality of their interpersonal relationships, and couples and families who have concerns about a loved one’s sexual orientation. MUSIC also works to enhance the health of the larger community through research, education, outreach and advocacy around sexual orientation issues and homophobia.”  https://www.mcgill.ca/cosum/

For private services I would recommend the Argyle Centre, they also have a 6 months+ waiting list but they have therapists that specialize in sexual orientation and identity. Pricing wise, they offer a sliding scale based on household income and ranges from 40$ to 105$ per weekly session. I heard a lot of good review on Argyle from a bunch of folks from the LGBTQ+ community. https://argyleinstitute.org/

For more community based help, the Centre for Gender Advocacy offers amazing peer support sessions with trained volunteers. “The Centre for Gender Advocacy offers free confidential support services through its Peer Support and Advocacy (PSA) program, which operates on principles of empowerment, harm reduction and self-determination.The program is run by staff and volunteers who have undergone training so they can be there to actively listen in a safe and nonjudgmental way. We can also help you find any resources you may be looking for – whether that’s information about health care, sexuality, drop-in centres, or something else altogether. Support services are provided in person or by phone.” A majority of the volunteers are members of the LGBTQ+ community and offer listening sessions regarding mental health, sexual orientation, gender identity, relationships, etc.

For more informations regarding the peer support services follow this link : https://genderadvocacy.org/services/peer-support-advocacy-and-referrals/

So, that’s pretty much all the anglophone resources I can think of that will offer an appropriate help regarding your questions. The Centre for Gender Advocacy can also help you find services that will be tailored to your needs. Thanks again for trusting us with your question and don’t be shy to reach out to us again. Take care and I’m sending you a bunch of healing vibes.

June, AlterHéros executive director