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Envision:You is a Denver based non-profit that works to support, educate and empower members of the LGBTQ+ community living with a mental health or substance use disorder throughout Colorado.. To achieve this mission, Envision:You educates the public and builds awareness of mental health and substance use disorders and treatments; provides education and training, and resources to expand the availability of culturally affirming treatment services; and advocates for changes to the local and state-wide policies to advance equity for LGBTQ+ individuals living with mental health and substance use disorders. Envision:You also collaborates with partners and allies to enhance training, research, education, and resources to support LGBTQ+ Coloradans in achieving optimal mental health and well-being.
Envision:You was launched in 2018 to address the disproportionate impact mental health and substance use disorders have on Colorado’s LGBTQ+ community through a statewide, multi-system approach that seeks to mitigate disparities at all levels, acknowledging that siloed, single system approaches are insufficient and unsustainable . Envision:You was created to serve clinicians, educators, researchers, policymakers, and leaders in the behavioral health field. Envision:You provides LGBTQ+ specific trainings, fosters a deeper understanding of the LGBTQ+ community and their needs, and advocates for and advances policies that address systemic inequities. These efforts benefit individuals, providers, and the behavioral health field by contributing to more equitable and positive outcomes among those they serve. 
The Envision:You logo is the Colorado and LGBTQ+ flag blended, to represent the LGBTQ+ individuals of Colorado that our organization strives to serve and support.
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How to Have the Talk
Envision:You created the "How to Have the Talk" public awareness campaign to disseminate information on how to speak to someone about their mental health. The campaign also provides LGBTQ+ affirming resources available in communities throughout Colorado. With funding from the Caring for Denver Foundation, Envision:You expanded the campaign through paid print promotions, tip card outreach, social media, and live events . In 2021, Envision:You distributed over 9,000 pocket-sized tip cards in English and Spanish that walk a person through the essential steps in reaching out to help someone in need of behavioral health services . These cards were handed out at various Pride events and placed in businesses across the state. Through relationships with community partners and influencers, the campaign also reached 27,000 individuals on social media. Envision:You hosted live events with Movement Climbing and Fitness, Tracks Denver, and Awake Sober Bar to provide opportunities for us to engage with community members and educate them on talking with their loved ones about mental health. Envision:You continues to distribute campaign materials and will host live events in Denver as well as Colorado Springs to spread awareness and share resources.
LGBTQ+ Behavioral Health Training
LGBTQ+ affirming care training is necessary for staff working in behavioral health settings, hospitals, and social service organizations. LGBTQ+ individuals experience higher rates of behavioral health challenges and often experience troubling encounters with providers who do not fully understand or appreciate the concerns that stem from being a part of a marginalized community (or holding more than one marginalized identity). To address these needs, Envision:You, along with its research and training development partner OMNI Institute, developed a multi-level LGBTQ+ Behavioral Health Provider Training Program.
The program is designed to help registered and licensed mental health clinicians, addiction counselors, and certified peer specialists develop new skills and gain critical knowledge to enhance the delivery of quality, culturally relevant and affirming behavioral health interventions for members of the LGBTQ+ community. Topics include: Spectrums of sexuality and gender; using inclusive and affirming language; intersectionality; the history of LGBTQ+ behavioral health care; barriers to treatment; health and mental health disparities; population-specific competencies; cultural relevance; trauma-informed care; effective treatment models; healthy coping skills; systemic biases; internalized oppression; coming out; gender dysphoria; administrative inclusiveness; and population-specific barriers to care.
Q is for Questioning
LGBTQ+ youth are at a higher risk for mental health disparities than that of their non-LGBTQ+ peers. This is in large part due to the stigma and discrimination surrounding the LGBTQ+ community. Young people who experience uncertainty surrounding their gender identity, gender presentation, and/or sexual orientation often experience stigma, bullying, isolation, and even violence. They might struggle with internalized fear and unhappiness and can resort to maladaptive coping mechanisms like self-harm, as well as an increased risk of suicide. Acceptance and support from family is the first step in helping queer youth contemplate who they are as they work to discover their authentic self and express their identity.
Q is for Questioning is a series of interactive workshops to be produced in communities across Colorado. A panel discussion will be facilitated by a licensed marriage and family counselor (LMFT), a person from the community with lived experience, and an Envision:You team member. We also hope to include someone from one of the regional community behavioral health centers or local department of health as part of the conversation.
State of the State Survey
State-level efforts to understand and address LGBTQ+ health and behavioral health inequities in Colorado have effectively documented health outcomes and disparities across diverse populations but have been limited in ability to move beyond high-level insights into the behavioral health needs and outcomes of LGBTQ+ Coloradans, given the many diverse communities comprising this population. Advancing behavioral health equity for LGBTQ+ Coloradans requires understanding of the specific and diverse behavioral health experiences and needs of individuals and groups within the LGBTQ+ community and moving beyond broad comparisons of the overall LGBTQ+ community to their straight and cisgender peers. This is particularly critical for LGBTQ+ individuals identifying as transgender and/or non-binary, for whom samples sizes are often low, leading to their information being suppressed and sometimes excluded from analysis.
To begin addressing these gaps, Envision:You, in partnership with the OMNI Institute and an expert advisory group, conducted a statewide assessment to document and understand Colorado LGBTQ+ individuals’ behavioral health needs and experiences, with particular attention paid to intersectionality of sexual orientation, gender identity, race/ethnicity, and geography. The survey was launched in June 2021 and statewide outreach was conducted throughout the summer with community organizations and at various Pride events.
588 LGBTQ+ Coloradans completed the survey, and responses were contextualized through 17 interviews with community members representing diverse lived experience. The State of the State Final Report was released in January 2022, and we will continue to share the results of the survey with partner organizations, policymakers, and the wider community throughout 2022
The Finding Hope Peer Support Program  consists of weekly virtual wellness workshops facilitated by Envision:You staff and LGBTQ+ Peer Community Organizers with lived experience. This program allows LGBTQ+ Coloradans, regardless of their identity, age, race, or geographic location, to address their mental health concerns with peers; develop positive relationships with their sexual orientation and gender identity; increase their social connections; and access clinical support if needed and when ready, leading to more equitable health outcomes for the LGBTQ+ community. This program also builds community and reduces isolation in rural spaces where there is a major lack of culturally relevant behavioral health services, thus improving mental health outcomes and reducing the risk of suicide.
Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility (IDEA)
Envision:You is committed to reducing these tragedies for all LGBTQ+ people. In order to make this goal achievable, Envision:You has intentionally entered the process of developing and maintaining a comprehensive understanding of the many intersecting identities held by QTBIPOC people. Through this initiative, Envision:You takes a critical look at how intersectional experiences within interrelated systems of discrimination, stigma, and marginalization impact overall well-being. Through this commitment to continually learn more, Envision:You is better able and informed to support, educate, and empower the LGBTQ+ community in Colorado. As an organization, Envision:You is consistently acknowledging and appreciating intersectionality, and fundamentally reconstructing the ways in which our organization functions. Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility (IDEA) are being operationalized at the core of our culture, making them more than just ideas. Envision: You defines IDEA as follows (“Definitions of Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion,” 2018):
- Inclusion encompasses the intentional, continued effort to incorporate, value, and respect the lived experience of diverse individuals within our organization and throughout the community.
- Diversity is an ongoing commitment to highlight and represent multiple perspectives of folks who are different and similar at individual and group levels.
- Equity is the deliberate process of ensuring fairness and justice through resource allocation and support.
- Accessibility bridges the gap of general compliance, and instead refers to equitable access to all folks along the continuum of ability and experience.
In the implementation of our IDEA initiative, Envision:You recognizes the need for cultural relevance and responsiveness. To be culturally relevant through this initiative means to apply knowledge and content throughout our organizational structure and programming to be reflective of QTBIPOC and those with other marginalized identities. Moreover, to be culturally responsive means making our IDEA initiative an active, evolving process. As Envision:You continues to gain a stronger understanding of QTBIPOC experiences by listening to the community and looking at the research, Envision:You will re-evaluate the strategic goals outlined in this initiative.
You:Flourish is the first ever digital space for the LGBTQ+ community focused on hope, help, healing, and saving lives. The app provides an expert-vetted resource directory of LGBTQ+ resources, available from anywhere, a digital peer support community to connect with others who share lived experience, and a curated wellness library with rewards to encourage success in reaching mental health and wellness goals. Through the app, all LGBTQ+ people can find the support they need to flourish throughout their wellness journey.
The concepts and business model for You:Flourish have been developed, refined, and vetted within Envision:You over the past 18 months. This year, You:Flourish has been incorporated as a Public Benefit Corporation in Colorado and will begin operating separately from Envision:You in April 2022. Through collaboration with strategic partners in marketing, app development, human resources, and clinical support, Envision:You hopes to launch You:Flourish nationally in September 2022.
The Envision:You Annual Garden Party  serves to honor those champions who have shown unwavering support to Envision:You, without whom our work would not be possible. Envision:You also honor both a corporate ally and an individual ally to the queer community with our annual Lean On Me Award. This event also facilitates networking among the various community leaders, policy makers, stakeholders, and advocates that have shown a commitment to improving behavioral health outcomes for the LGBTQ+ population in Colorado, while also providing an opportunity to raise awareness around that topic. Our annual Garden Party will be hosted at the Denver Botanic Gardens
|2020 Corporate Ally||Mental Health Center of Denver|
|2020 Individual Ally||Representative Leslie Herod|
|2021 Corporate Ally||Rx Abuse Leadership Initiative (RALI)|
|2021 Individual Ally||Governor Jared Polis|
There is a deep connection between art and mental health and wellness. To embrace this, Envision:You holds an annual Art Show . Envision:You asks LGBTQ+ artists to donate pieces representing what mental health means to them, which are then auctioned off at the Art Show. The overall purpose of this event is to raise money for Envision:You’s cause and also bring awareness to behavioral health struggles while creating opportunities for conversations around those topics. All existing donors, both individual and corporate–as well as legislative representatives and program partners–are invited to attend. It is also our intention to empower the LGBTQ+ artist community and bring attention to their stories and work. Join artists and supporters on September 28th for this fabulous event.
Colorado Behavioral Health Summit
Since its launch in 2019, the Colorado Behavioral Health & Wellness Summit has been an annual four-day conference co-hosted by Envision:You and The University of Denver.  The event consists of three full days of behavioral health and wellness content presented by local and national mental health leaders, preceded by a welcome reception and keynote address. From 2019 to 2021, the conference has been unique in that participants have had no financial obligation to attend, meaning professionals and students from all walks of life can benefit.
In addition, one-third of presented content focuses on issues surrounding the LGBTQ+ community, which is at higher risk for poorer mental health outcomes and is the group at the center of Envision:You’s mission .The event is sponsored by a variety of healthcare organizations with a presence in Colorado, many of whom host tables at the Summit and engage with participants between presentations. The annual Summit provides an incredible opportunity for education and collaboration to the entire behavioral health and wellness community.
Over the past three years the Summit has achieved:
- Average of ~500 registrants per year
- Average of ~25 participants per presentation/session
- Extremely positive feedback on the quality of content presented
- Financial breakeven, even without paid registrations
- 40+ recorded sessions from previous years for further education
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