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News Release
OHA supporting LGBTQIA2S+ youth with list of summer resources - 06/11/24

June 11, 2024

Media contacts: Jonathan Modie, 971-246-9139, PHD.Communications@oha.oregon.gov

OHA supporting LGBTQIA2S+ youth with list of summer resources

Agency reaffirms commitment to queer young people as school year ends

PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon Health Authority (OHA) is reaffirming its commitment to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, two-spirit, questioning and (+) (LGBTQIA2S+) youth by sharing resources to promote their well-being, safety, security and inclusion.

“It’s so important that youth have access to the supports from families and community organizations that celebrate the rich diversity of their identities,” said Dean Sidelinger, M.D., M.S.Ed., health officer and state epidemiologist at OHA.

Since 2022, OHA has celebrated gender and sexual orientation diversity by highlighting resources available to LGBTQIA2S+ youth during summer. These months can be a challenging time for queer youth and their families as many supports they have access to during the school year are no longer available.

June also happens to be Pride month, Sidelinger noted, when OHA and its public health partners “lift up and celebrate these diverse identities and show our support for LGBTQIA2S+ youth, families and organizations.”

Communities, families and trusted adults play a critical role in contributing to and supporting their LGBTQIA2S+ children’s well-being. Families protect LGBTQIA2S+ young people against potential suicidal behavior, depression and substance use when they promote self-esteem, overall health and strong, affirming relationships.

Many local, state and national resources are available for LGBTQIA2S+ youth and families to help them thrive as summer kicks off:

  • The Oregon Youth Resource Map is designed to help young people ages 16-25 and their allies connect to youth-serving resources, organizations and leadership opportunities. The map centers youth needs and voices, and includes services for health and mental health care, housing, education and more.
  • TransActive Gender Project at Lewis & Clark Graduate School works to empower transgender and gender-expansive children, youth and their families in living healthy lives free of discrimination through a range of services and expertise.
  • PFLAG offers quick tips to parents and caregivers for supporting their LGBTQIA2S+ children during the coming-out process. PFLAG also has eight chapters in Oregon, including in eastern, southern and central Oregon, and the Portland metro area.
  • The Family Acceptance Project works to increase family and community support for LGBTQIA2S+ youth, decrease health and mental health risks, and promote well-being. An Oregon page also is available.
  • The Trevor Project promotes suicide prevention and crisis intervention for LGBTQIA2S+ young people. Public education materials are available on its website, as well as the results of its 2024 U.S. National Survey on the Mental Health of LGBTQ Young People.
  • Outside In (Portland) welcomes and encourages all from the LGBTQIA2S+ community to connect, feel seen and heard, and provides free resources such as counseling, medical services and wraparound support for homeless youth and other marginalized people who meet diagnostic criteria. Call 503-535-3828.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers a number of professional development resources to help teachers and school staff create safe schools for LGBTQIA2S+ youth.
  • The Center of Excellence on LGBTQ+ Behavioral Health Equity at the University of Maryland addresses disparities in mental health and substance use disorder treatment systems that affect the LGBTQIA2S+ community. The center published a short video last year on basic terminology that is important for people to know when working with those of diverse sexual orientations or gender identities.
  • New Avenues for Youth’s Sexual & Gender Minority Youth Center provides culturally specific support for LGBTQIA2S+ youth.
  • The Next Door provides youth outreach in schools, life skills training and mentoring programs such as Gorge Youth Mentoring. It supports a youth advisory council, gender-affirming locker rooms and, in partnership with Columbia Gorge Pride Alliance, promotes 30 Days of Gay events as part of Pride month in June.
  • Eastern Oregon Center for Independent Living (EOCIL) provides safe spaces, community building and empowerment for two-spirit and LGBTQIA+ communities, with and without disabilities, and allies in 13 eastern Oregon counties. As one of the largest and oldest two-spirit and LGBTQIA+ service providers and employers in eastern Oregon, EOCIL proudly serves the two-spirit and LGBTQIA+ communities of Baker, Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Hood River, Malheur, Morrow, Sherman, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa, Wasco and Wheeler counties.
  • The Rogue Action Center is a diverse network of LGBTQ+ community members and groups in Josephine and Jackson counties that build community, shift policy and build power, help folks navigate resources and close gaps to accessing basic needs, and lift up leadership in our communities.

OHA works with other state agencies, counties, Tribal nations, communities and advocacy groups across the state to ensure youth in Oregon have access to support and services, including offering links and contact information to help lines and other resources:

  • The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, available 24/7, is for people in any type of behavioral health crisis, such as mental health-related distress, thoughts of suicide or self-harm, or a substance use crisis. People can get help by calling 988, texting 988 or chatting online at 988Lifeline.org.
  • 988 offers specialized support for LGBTQIA2S+ youth and young adults by calling 988 and pressing 3 or texting “PRIDE” to 988.
  • Oregon Alliance to Prevent Suicide is dedicated to preventing youth and young adults in Oregon from dying by suicide.
  • Oregon LGBTQ Support, from Oregon LGBTQ Youth & Family Resources, lists resources that focus on providing services and support to reduce mental health risks and promote well-being for LGBTQ young people.
  • Oregon YouthLine for teen-to-teen support. A 24/7 phone line and texting support are available where trained youth respond from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Pacific Time, daily (adults available by phone at all other times).
    • Call 1-877-968-8491
    • Text teen2teen to 839863

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