One day when I am running for Miss America, mental health issues will be my cause of choice. This new mental health center is a much-needed addition to the gay community in San Francisco. Issues of mental health are far overlooked and at times ignore because of the stigma that goes along with it. Please support your, community and support each other. I just hope that this new center will have the capacity to take on every walk-in and person in need. New Leaf which has gone under had a reputation of rejecting many people in need because they did not have enough resources. AB
It’s been an emotional year for providers of LGBT mental health services since the closure of New Leaf: Services for Our Community nine months ago, but it appears that summer might finally be lifting some of the gray clouds with the opening of Queer LifeSpace, a new low-income mental health services organization.
Located in the same building as the San Francisco Therapy Collective, a for-profit counseling collective, in the heart of the Castro, Queer LifeSpace began conducting intakes earlier this week in its deep wine and iris colored offices overlooking the Walgreens parking lot.
The organization is spearheaded by four former New Leaf mental health and substance abuse therapists who founded the SF Therapy Collective.
Friday, July 22 marks the beginning for Queer LifeSpace with the opening of its doors and an invitation-only party, said Nancy Heilner, executive director.
Queer LifeSpace is the newest organization to fill the gaping hole in mental health services left by New Leaf’s closure last October. The UCSF AIDS Health Project and Lyon-Martin Health Services both picked up the shuttered agency’s displaced low-income clients and integrated them into its counseling programs. Lyon-Martin, however, is experiencing its own fiscal problems and is not accepting new patients.
The SF Therapy Collective was launched by Heilner, Chris Holleran, Stacey Rodgers, and Joe Voors shortly after New Leaf closed its doors. The therapists, who are gay and lesbian and worked together as a team in the adult substance abuse program at New Leaf, originally attempted to lower their counseling fees to accommodate and continue to see their low-income clients. But the rates simply weren’t low enough in spite of the collective’s “generous sliding scale” and they couldn’t feasibly lower the fees further, Heilner said.