SAN ANTONIO – Both the pandemic and an eye-opening three year study have prompted the Pride Center of San Antonio to create new hyper-focused counseling groups.
One is in such high demand that the spots are already filled.
The free program will cater to young people of color and Spanish speakers in the queer community.
“As a young person that was a queer-identified person, there wasn’t resources available to me. I was raised in northwest Texas in Amarillo,” said Robert Salcido.
Salcido stayed true to himself, eventually becoming the executive director of the Pride Center of San Antonio. The center offers case management, counseling and support to the local LGBTQ + community.
“It makes them see that they too can be whoever they want to be,” Salcido said.
The Pride Center is basing its services on research findings from a three-year study.
“Last year, we completed a three-year study we were working on, the Strengthening Colors of Pride Project, and we were able to do a needs assessment,” Salcido explained.
His team, comprised of researchers at Trinity University, found gaps in local mental health services. So they are launching a pilot program, developing their first two group therapy programs, which will be led by a licensed counselor.
The current groups are peer-to-peer support sessions. The first is for LGBTQ+ youth of color, ages 18-26.
“The research found that, definitely, youth of color experience far greater disparities when it comes to mental health care. COVID certainly adds to those barriers that exist,” Salcido said.
It was such a clear necessity in our community that the 15 slots have already been filled. However, the second pilot counseling group, which is for adults 18 and older who speak Spanish, still has spots available.
“That can be fluent in Spanish. It could be Tex-Mex. It could be Spanglish. Any form of having the language available to folks. We don’t have many services available to people in the language they speak at home,” Salcido said.
The Pride Center will use research done during these eight-week counseling sessions to mold more group counseling programs for the future.
To sign up for the Spanish speaking group, head to the Pride Center website’s group therapy page.