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Tuesday, June 27, 2023
1 p.m. ET / 10 a.m. PT

Where I feel safe: What makes an environment affirming

Feeling affirmed, supported, and safe is essential for our mental health. When discussing affirming environments, we often talk about health care settings, but affirming spaces go far beyond a doctor's office. For example, schools, homes, campuses, workplaces, businesses, and community spaces all have the opportunity to ensure that they are affirming for LGBTQ+ folks. This webinar will discuss what makes an environment affirming and how to create those spaces.

Join Mental Health America and guests for this free, 60-minute webinar where we will:

  • Hear from individuals with lived experience about where they feel the safest and most comfortable
  • Discuss how those spaces create safety and the impact it has on mental health
  • Provide information about how to make a space more inclusive and affirming

Meet the Speakers

Jose Caballero (he/him) hails from Nicaragua and has dedicated himself to giving everyone in his community a chance to talk openly about their journeys with mental health. His work primarily focuses on school mental health initiatives, placing particular emphasis on amplifying the voices and lived experiences of Latino, queer, and first-generation individuals. His efforts have fostered collaborations with various nonprofits, including the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Mental Health America, and The JED Foundation, which recently honored him with the 2023 Student Voice of Mental Health Award.

Connor Dalgaard (he/him) is a rising sophomore at Vassar College planning to major in psychology and minor in economics and Greek and Roman studies. As a high school student in Pittsburgh, he developed a passion for mental health advocacy and amplifying youth voices. Through involvement with his school's Stand Together club, the PA Youth Advocacy Network, and freelance journalism, Dalgaard drew attention to the mental health crisis facing youth at city, state, and national levels. In the future, he hopes to pursue a career with a mental health component to continue advocating for the causes he believes in.

Sophie Szew (she/they) is a Los Angeles-born mental health activist, writer, and public speaker. She was a youth leader at MTV’s Mental Health Youth Action Forum at the White House, where she shared her story with President Biden and helped guide the administration on how to best serve the needs of youth in the mental health care system. Sophie is also a three-time intern at the U.S. House of Representatives and an internationally recognized poet, winning the 2021 Woorilla Poetry Prize and serving as an inaugural poet for L.A. Mayor Karen Bass. She has advised numerous organizations, including Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation, Mental Health America, and the California Mental Health Consortium. As a first-year student at Stanford University, they hope to double-major in American studies with a concentration in mental health care justice and comparative studies in race and ethnicity, with two minors in human rights and creative writing. As an eating disorder survivor and proud Jewish Latina, Szew combines their own experiences with injustice brought about by mental health care inequity with her passion for writing, advocacy, and leadership to uplift the voices of those with lived experiences and fight for the systemic destigmatization of marginalized bodies.

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