Ohio Mental Health Group Launches Initiative for LGBTQ Youth


youth in Ohio now have another set of resources dedicated to meeting their mental health needs.

Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) launched its Be Present campaign, a statewide social marketing initiative to help LGBTQ youth, according to their website.

The campaign is “focused on primary prevention of mental health issues among youth and young adults” and will educate and empower the friends, peers and family of at-risk youth to “step up” and provide support.

The initiative uses the slogan “Your Presence is a Present,” and is mainly aimed at youth and young adults who experience bullying and are having a difficult time adjusting to large life changes, such as entering high school, all while being LGBTQ and deciphering their identities.

According to the Center for American Progress, LGBTQ people are more likely to experience psychological distress, more likely to have suicidal ideation and more likely to need medication for emotional health issues than their heterosexual and cisgender counterparts.

A 2017 study found that, prior to the 2015 Supreme Court decision legalizing , LGBTQ youth attempted less often in states where marriage equality was legal.

On the Be Present campaign’s website, people can get involved on three different levels: Friend, Advocate and Leader.

Friends do not need to register and can access features such as email updates and calendars of activities, while Advocates must register and can view demographic profiles, tutorials and can download campaign materials. Advocates can also use messaging tools on the site.

Leaders must have an account with a username and password and can receive intensive training with certification opportunities.

The Be Present campaign will be rolled out in stages over the next five to seven months, and will include social media presence on several platforms, print ads and public service announcements on Pandora Radio.

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