Here at Beyond Reflections one of our main reasons for existing is mental health. We know that trans+ people are one of the highest risk categories for self-harm and suicide, but have you ever stopped to think about why?
What our members regularly experience when coming out is push back against being themselves. It comes from family members who feel that it reflects on them. From society because it goes against norms. Sometimes from friends who just cannot quite understand their own feelings about what is happening.
This comes into our support groups and counselling rooms at Beyond Reflections in the form of rejection, self-doubt and fear.
So how do we help?
We’re that supportive space where everyone can be themselves without fear of rejection or judgement. By being themselves and being completely accepted and listened to, they can start to address that self-doubt that was holding them back.
Abigail (our projects and events administrator) and I went to a fundraising dinner during the week and whilst there I met a parent of someone who I had supported in the past. Though we had never met before, he wanted to speak with me. He simply wanted to thank me for being there for his child when he could not be. He had his process to go through, and they have since started talking again, but for a while his child had no one for support. Except us.
That’s the space we hold. We support our members to not be held back by the rejection, self-doubt, and fear that they feel when their family, and others around them, cannot understand. We also support our cis members to understand their own feelings around the trans+ person in their life.
And our volunteers?
Our volunteers are passionate and driven to make a difference. We train them in other skills they may need, but what they each bring right at the start of their journey with us is a belief. The belief that they want to make things better for the people we support. They see that many trans+ people have a tough time of things, and they want to help.
This is why our volunteers make such a difference in our members’ lives. When I was a volunteer, I saw it first hand in the groups I ran, and the counselling I provided. Now that I work in the office, I see it across all of our groups and counselling. Members tell me that our support has been life changing for them. Our services literally save lives.
Want to help?
If you think you could be a part of this dedicated and genuinely caring team, the volunteering application form is here. I hope to hear from you soon.