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Written by Michelle Nastasis
"Shocking". "Heart Breaking". "You're Kidding, right?" "No way that happens". "Devastating".
These were just several of the comments made to Michelle Nastasis as she completed a Cultural Competency Training on Friday Dec. 6 at Turning Point Integrated Mental Health on North First Street for the entire staff of 27 people. This included case managers, support staff, nurses, and counselors.
Along with the program above each participant was given instructions on the following items: 1.) the meaning of and the history of the the rainbow bracelets and rainbowdelegation.org; 2.) a booklet about the TREVOR Project and its meaning; 3.) how to handle a client who is questioning whether or not to come out to their family/friends and during this part of the program, Michelle stressed safety before all else. Michelle stressed that if coming out puts the client in a dangerous situation (i.e.- being kicked out of the house, being a victim of physical violence, etc.), extreme caution MUST be used in each situation; 4.) how to make use of the resources available to the LGBTQ Community (i.e.- Gay Central Valley, Trans-E-Motion, etc.).
After the presentation, Michelle answered approximately 30 questions about her own coming out, her own journey and how her journey can benefit others within the LGBTQ Community at Turning Point Integrated Mental Health.
Once the program was over, Michelle has been invited to repeat the program for other Turning Point Mental Health Programs and staff in the next several months.
Special thanks go out to Kayleia, Lisa and the rest of the Gay Central Valley staff for their help with Michelle in putting this program together.