The end of the year is approaching, and with it the last chance for year-end charitable giving. SPECTRUM is in need of donations to support our Chrysalis Fund for Mental Health, which helps to provide no cost and subsidized counselling to members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community, with a focus on transgender and non-binary people. 

This service is badly needed in our community; stigma, violence, and discrimination mean that 2SLGBTQ+ people are at elevated risk for serious mental illness, addiction, and suicide:

Transgender and non-binary people experience even higher levels of risk because of lack of community support and rejection by friends, family, and loved ones:

  • Per the Outlook Study, less than half (43%) of trans people in Waterloo Region have come out to people outside of their immediate family. Nearly a third of those who have (31%) say that the people they came out to are unsupportive.
  • In one Waterloo Region study, 42% of trans respondents reported having to move away from family or friends because of their gender identity. 
  • Of the 40,000 homeless youth in Canada, between 25% and 40% identify as 2SLGBTQ+. Family conflict relating to sexual orientation or gender identity is the main reason 2SLGBTQ+ youth become homeless.

In addition to there being a lack of mental health professionals qualified to provide trans and non-binary inclusive care, many trans and non-binary people who experience employment discrimination or economic marginalization are unable to afford counselling services, which are expensive and not always covered by benefits. 

Of especial concern is that trans and non-binary people have disproportionately suffered negative economic impacts of COVID 19 while also experiencing much higher rates of depression and mental illness:

  • According to Statistics Canada, almost 70% of gender-diverse participants reported fair/poor mental health, compared with 25.5% of female participants and 21.2% of male participants. Gender-diverse people were 2 times more likely than women to report symptoms of anxiety, and 3 times more likely than men. 
  • Gender-diverse respondents were 1.6 times more likely to report that COVID-19 had a “moderate”or “major” impact on their ability to meet their financial obligations or essential needs, such as rent or mortgage payments, utilities, and groceries. 
  • According to a 2018 survey, the age and gender distribution of the 2SLGBTQ+ population in Canada was also associated with higher risk for experiencing loss of employment.
  • 2SLGBTQ+ Canadians are also significantly over-represented among low-income earners.

Your donations are needed to continue providing access to this vital service for those most in need. We urge you to give directly to the Chrysalis Fund for mental health as part of your year-end giving. Monies from the Chrysalis Fund will be used to provide counselling services through the OK2BME program at KW Counselling Services. $130 will cover the full cost of a counselling session for someone in need. We thank you for prioritizing 2SLGBTQ+ mental health in your year-end giving!


Chrysalis Fund, Non-binary, stigma, transgender, Waterloo Region

SPECTRUM offers a safe place where LGBTQ2+ individuals can be themselves and find community and supports.