The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) has launched a virtual support group tailored exclusively for LGBTIQ+ young adults.
The world can sometimes feel like an intricate maze, and the journey is often even more complex for younger LGBTIQ+ individuals, many of whom might be grappling with their gender identity or sexuality and coming out to others.
SADAG recognises this, and in response, they’ve launched an online space where narratives are free from societal stigma and preconceived notions.
This isn’t just another support initiative; it’s an acknowledgement that LGBTIQ+ experiences deserve more than recognition – they deserve a network that stands strong and united in the diverse tapestry of their stories.
SADAG envisions the online support group as a dynamic space for acceptance, understanding, and an unwavering commitment to affirming young people’s journey.
Creating a Safe Haven
Scheduled for the last Friday of every month, the support group meetings are hosted by Tarika Rajcoomar, a passionate advocate and leader within SADAG.
Tarika emphasises the importance of having a safe space where LGBTIQ+ young adults, aged 18-35, can connect, share experiences, and find solace in a community that understands their unique challenges.
“Not having people you can relate to about sexuality and/or gender identity is an incredibly isolating and othering experience,” Tarika says.
“I have first-hand experience with that, so I wanted to help create a space where LGBT+ people can connect. I hope the support group will help foster a sense of community and camaraderie among the members.”
The Power of Community and Shared Stories
Krystle Kemp, the Project Manager at SADAG, underscores the belief in the transformative power of community and the strength derived from sharing stories.
Support groups, she notes, serve as spaces where individuals can come together, uplift each other, and form lasting connections.
One enthusiastic supporter of this initiative is Saulsville resident Itumeleng Gift Mombezi, a member of the ANC LGBTQIAP+ sub-committee. As a queer individual, Mombezi expresses gratitude for SADAG’s proactive approach to addressing the mental health needs of the queer community.
“As a queer person, I really appreciate what SADAG is offering to the queer community. We as queer people encounter a lot of problems in that we are not getting counselling assistance, and many queer people are victimised every day, which is now seen as a norm. Having the assistance of SADAG will be very beneficial because many queer people will be able to find solutions to their trauma,” Mombezi shares.
Catherine Keyworth, the manager of Arcadia of CID NPC, echoes Mombezi’s sentiments. “It’s about damn time. The needs of the LGBT+ community are really nuanced, and I think that SADAG accessing the people that don’t have the socio-economic resources readily available to them… let’s go in there and get people the support and help they need.”
Addressing the Stigma Surrounding Mental Health
“Mental health is already very stigmatised in South Africa, so for the LGBT+ community, it’s even more exacerbated. Let’s remove all those barriers and stigmas and connect,” Keyworth passionately asserts.
She advocates for dismantling these barriers and stigmas, urging for a connection that transcends societal prejudices.
How to Join the Movement
To get more information or to join the LGBTIQ+ young adults support group, contact Tarika Rajcoomar at 082 946 9401. Additionally, you can connect with a SADAG counsellor via WhatsApp at 087 163 2030 (08:00-17:00), send an SMS to 31393, or call 0800 456 789 (24/7).