Mental Health Services
The counselling team at Friends of Ruby reflects the diversity of the LGBTQI2S community. Their personal and professional experience informs our comprehensive and collaborative approach to mental health and well-being.
“As a counsellor, I often think about what it means to honor the experiences of the participants I work with. It feels really hard, but a big part of learning how to offer support is by creating space to reflect upon the mistakes that I have made. I want the people that I work with to feel how open I am to their experiences, so that slowly we can come up with a therapeutic relationship that works for the both us. Whatever folks have to bring—I’m here for it.”– Mina, Counsellor
Our mental health team works from an integrative, trauma-informed, anti-oppressive and collaborative framework. Our counsellors combine intervention techniques (like role play and grounding exercises) with therapeutic frameworks that address different parts of people’s experiences and identities. Our integrative approach meets youth where they are.
At Friends of Ruby, our therapy work always strives to take the political and structural context of LGBTQI2S people’s lives into account, bringing this context into the therapy room. By challenging the dominant discourses that shape people’s lives, we create space for each person’s unique story. Our counselling work is also deeply informed by research on trauma and attachment, and specific trauma therapy modalities.
“My Friends of Ruby counsellor has always been so welcoming and supportive of my journey. She has such brilliant questions and I have learned a lot about myself from them. The mindfulness group I am in has provided awesome resources and a space for practice… I love that Friends of Ruby provides counselling supports dedicated to 2SLGBTQ+ youths. This means a lot to me because it allows me to feel so much safer in counselling sessions.”– Min, Participant
These sessions can happen over the phone, through chat or video calls, or in-person at the Youth Centre, if preferred. Counselling sessions are collaborative and our counsellors work to meet youth where they are in their journey and, as their needs change, help to foster accountability and structure.
We host groups dedicated to topics such as skills for safer living, coping and emotion management skills and mindfulness practices, where youth learn skill building, risk management, needs prioritization and active listening.
Participants accessing crisis counselling receive support to address the immediate crisis, including suicide risk assessment, safety planning, emotional de-escalation, resources and referral, or connecting with emergency response team if necessary.
Other Main Services
Need support finding a job or inclusive housing? Having trouble navigating the healthcare system? Our case managers can help with that.
Along with the Friends of Ruby Home, one of the few transitional homes dedicated to LGBTQI2S youth, at our Youth Centre we always offer help finding inclusive shelter space and housing.
At our drop-in space LGBTQI2S youth aged 16-19 will find meals, activities, support groups and community. We offer barrier free one-on-one counselling, support with gender identity and sexual orientation, and help with finding housing, healthcare and jobs.