Unified Statement on Anti-LGBTGEQIAP+ Legislation
As of March 11, 2022, more than 150 pieces of legislation targeting queer and trans people have been introduced in state legislatures across the country (ACLU, 2022). Just four months in, this has already been a watershed year for anti-LGBTGEQIAP+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender expansive, queer, intersex, asexual, pansexual+) legislation. These bills currently exist in 31 states, and this threatens the future for individuals in the community nationwide. While anti-LGBTGEQIAP+ legislation is not a new phenomenon, the state level attack against equality follows a number of improvements at the federal level. These attacks place transgender, non-binary, and other gender non-conforming youth amongst the most targeted groups at this time. While not all issues for all members of the LGBTGEQIAP+ community are the same, they all share oppression and are targeted by this legislation
We know that 94% of LGBTQ+ youth have reported that recent political attacks have negatively impacted their mental health (Trevor Project, 2021). LGBTGEQIAP+ youth are already at a heightened risk of experiencing depression, anxiety and other mental health disorders (NAMI, 2022). Research also shows that LGBTGEQIAP+ youth are significantly more likely than their heterosexual, cisgender peers to experience suicidal ideation and attempts at suicide (NAMI, 2022). Half of all LGBTQ+ youth of color reported discrimination based on their race/ethnicity in the past year, including 67% of Black LGBTQ youth and 60% of Asian/Pacific Islander LGBTQ youth (Trevor Project, 2021). As professional counselors, we are committed to the well-being of these communities. These bills, and those like them, threaten these communities and stand in opposition to our core professional values:
The following divisions and affiliate organizations of the American Counseling Association (ACA), Association of Counseling Sexology and Sexual Wellness (ACSSW), the Society for Sexual, Affectional, Intersex, and Gender Expansive Identities in Counseling (SAIGE), the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES), the Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development (AMCD), the Association for Specialists in Group Work (ASGW), the International Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (IAMFT), the Association for Child and Adolescent Counseling (ACAC), the Association for Creativity in Counseling (ACC), the American College Counseling Association (ACCA), the Association for Humanistic Counseling (AHC), the Association for Assessment and Research in Counseling (AARC), Counselors for Social Justice (CSJ), and The International Association of Addictions and Offender Counselors (IAAOC) stand in solidarity with ACA’s nondiscrimination statement:
The American Counseling Association is committed to nondiscrimination and to the prevention of harassment in all forms—verbal, physical, sexual, emotional, and psychological—including protections for transgender, gender non-conforming, and LGBTQ+ individuals. Every human being on earth is unique and uniquely important. Each person embarks on the adventure of life guided by their own spirit, outlook, and traits of character. These facets help to shape and guide the course of every human journey. Everyone is equal on this path.
The ACA Governing Affairs Resources:
The ACA Code of Ethics:
The CSJ Code of Ethics:
Ibrahim, F.A., Dinsmore, J.A., Estrada, D., & D'andrea, M. (2011). The Counselors for Social Justice (CSJ) Code of Ethics.
Multicultural Social Justice Counseling Competencies (MSJCC):
Resources for Further Support:
Crisis Help: The Trevor Project | 24 Hour Telephone (866) 488-7386 | We're here for you Now – The Trevor Project | Trans Lifeline (877) 565-8860 Peer support phone service run by and for transgender people.
TransSOCIAL (Transgender-led organization): TransSOCIAL, Inc.. Services and resources include: Name and gender marker change assistance, case management, peer support and social groups, and affirming medical and mental health referrals.
National Queer & Trans Therapists of Color Network (Healing justice organization): National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network | Services and resources include: Mental Health Practitioner Directory and an online assistance to help connect queer and trans people of color to queer and trans practitioners of color and supplemental financial assistance for psychotherapy (Mental Health Fund).
Glimmer: Glimmer | Platform for helping LGBTQIA+ people connect with affirming wellness professionals.
Statement crafted by Christina McGrath Fair, chair of ACSSW Social Justice & Advocacy committee. Special thanks to Tamekia Bell (SAIGE), Devika Dibya Choudhuri (ASGW), Angela Cocker (AMCD), Delilah Owens (CSJ), Deborah Rubel (ACES), Angela Schubert (ACSSW), Carol Smith (IARTC), and Shon Smith (CSJ) for feedback and contributions to this statement.
ACCA Statement on Violence towards Asians
After this past year of increasing racism and hatred directed towards the Asian, Asian-American and Pacific Islander community, we find ourselves processing yet another tragic, senseless act of violence, which has culminated in the murder of eight people, including six Asian women… during Women’s History Month. We are horrified by the racially motivated violence fueled by racist and xenophobic rhetoric.
In light of the shooting that took place in Atlanta, GA, the American College Counseling Association would like to extend our condolences, support, and commitment to those affected by this tragic event. We understand the traumatic impact these events have on your well-being. Please know we are here to support you through this difficult time.
Let’s stand together, let’s #StopAsianHate.
ACCA Statement on Racial Violence
The American College Counseling Association (ACCA) strongly condemns and denounces racism, systemic oppression, injustice, police brutality, and hate in all of its forms. ACCA mourns the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others who have died as a result of state sanctioned race-based tragedies. Each and every one are real people who were loved by their families and whose lives mattered; lost forever to violence fueled by centuries of racism, anti-Blackness and white supremacy woven into the fabric of our country. While we come together as a multicultural community, we center on the needs and experiences of the Black community. As mental health professionals, we stand for giving voice to the under-represented and underserved, promoting social justice, and providing support in times of crisis. There is no response that can remedy the immeasurable losses and violence that the Black community has endured for centuries, but we can renew our call to action as individuals and a community.
As is so painfully obvious, and only brought into sharper focus with these recent national events, systemic oppression and racism permeates our society and must be eradicated. We know that a counselor’s role in dismantling oppressive systems is clearly stated throughout our code of ethics. Counselors are also essential to helping communities navigate difficult conversations and serious challenges. However, we must also be able to hold these conversations amongst ourselves. Embracing multiculturalism is only a start. We must stand up and speak out against the injuries and violence of institutional racism. We also must adopt an anti-racist lens in our clinical work, as well as reviewing our policies and practices within our counseling centers to ensure that they increase diversity and inclusion in our staffing and implement on-going training and accountability for knowledge, understanding and skills for the work of anti-racism, and for diversity, inclusion and social justice. It is our sincere expectation that this movement propels college counselors across the nation into reflective and deliberate action.
It is essential that individuals in positions of power, whether due to race, socioeconomic status, or position, take up this call to action. There are many ways that we can challenge anti-Blackness in our own communities without shifting focus. We can push past the fear of raising our voice, and we can work to amplify the voices of Black colleagues and students. We can capitalize on our social capital to challenge biased actions and unfair policies. We can donate to causes supporting BIPOC communities. Most of all, we can listen and educate ourselves. We can lean in and let go of the messages about race that we have internalized over a lifetime. As has been said by Maya Angelou, “When we know better, we can do better.”
To our Black colleagues: We see your pain. We believe you when you say you are being hurt and oppressed by systemic racism that exists throughout higher education and our nation. We recognize that minority stress and race-based trauma are real and you experience them daily. We will amplify your voices and fight with you and for you, side by side. Social distancing has further isolated you from connecting with other Black counselors, colleagues, and supports preventing many opportunities to draw from a collective strength and wisdom. We realize that we haven’t listened to you in the past and have resisted change out of fear and ignorance. Our Black students deserve access to culturally specific and affirming healing modalities and our Black colleagues deserve effective mentorship, leadership, and supervision that moves beyond cultural competence and is anti-racist. #Blacklivesmatter
ACCA is currently working on providing support and spaces to come together and provide a safe place for our membership to process, learn, empathize, and provide support to one another. In addition, ACCA has joined with many divisions of ACA to co-sponsor two important upcoming events (registration information is available on our website).
I Need A Minute: A Time for Collective Mourning – Monday, June 8th at 6:30pm EST.
Town Hall on Racial Trauma and the Violent and Negligent Policing of Black Americans – Friday, June 19th from 11am-1pm EST
In addition, if you are looking for other ways to take action, below are some suggestions, with a more comprehensive list available on our website.
Additional suggested resources are available on our website: collegecounseling.org
Brittany L. Collins, co-chair diversity and inclusion committee
Sandy Davis, Member at Large
Jessenia Garcia, co-chair diversity and inclusion committee
Steffanie Grossman, Member at Large
Janelle C. Johnson, Past-President
Andrew J. Lee, President-Elect
Monica Osburn, Governing Council Representative
Rebecca Smith, Secretary
Richard Tyler-Walker, President
Yulanda Tyre, Treasurer
Elena Yee, Member at Large
ACCA Statement on COVID-19
As we navigate these challenging times, know that ACCA is here to support you. We understand that the impact of COVID-19 has been both personal and professional, and is shifting the way that we navigate our work, home, and relationships with clients, colleagues, and loved ones. We realize that, many times, as helpers, while we help hold the emotions and experiences of those around us, it can be challenging to hold our own emotions and experiences as well. Know that, as members of ACCA as well as the broader university and college counseling community, we stand with you and will do our best to provide resources to help. In times such as these, it is vital to remember that self-compassion and gentleness is as necessary for ourselves as it is for our clients. You are not alone, and we appreciate the work that you are continuing to do and the impact you are making as part of our university and college counseling community and in your other identities.
The Higher Education Mental Health Alliance (HEMHA) has release a guid for COVID 19 Resources, you can access it below:
Additional Related Resources (Note that ACCA does not endorse a particular site or provider, and this list is meant to provide links to various services and resources.):
The Jed Foundation's COVID-19 Resource Guide: https://www.jedfoundation.org/jeds-covid-19-resource-guide/
Free Corona Anxiety Workbook: https://thewellnesssociety.org/free-coronavirus-anxiety-workbook/
List of federal, state, and private grants that exist for Higher Ed. institutions to apply for in order to roll out telehealth: https://mantrahealth.com/post/telehealth-grant-opportunities-for-higher-education
American College Health Association (ACHA) Considerations for Reopening Institutions of Higher Education in the COVID-19 Era: The ACHA guidelines, Considerations for Reopening Institutions of Higher Education in the COVID-19 Era, address the administrative, medical, mental health, health promotion/well-being, and campus-wide considerations in reopening college campuses as the COVID-19 pandemic abates. These guidelines are intentionally broad for universal use, and written with the understanding that IHEs should evaluate the feasibility of these recommendations in light of their own campus environment.
HEMHA Distance Counseling Guide
The Higher Education Mental Health Alliance (HEMHA) is proud to release our most recent guide, College Counseling from a Distance: Deciding Whether and When to Engage in Telemental Health Services.
This guide, along with all other HEMHA resources, are free! Please share this with others whom you think would be interested.
This guide focuses on all of the content areas needing consideration to determine if your center wants to participate in Telemental Health Services using an interdisciplinary approach.
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ACCA Members in the News
Becca Smith is quoted in the Washington Post article "College mental health centers are swamped. Here's what parents can do."
Andrew Lee is quoted in the Inside Higher Ed article on Suicidal Ideation
Steffanie Grrossman is quoted in Online Counseling article College Students Diet and Mental Health
Janelle Johnson comments on the state of mental services at community colleges.
Janelle Johnson on College Counseling” Psychotherapy.net Interview. Follow the link to read the full interview.