Belmont University Counseling Services is providing new spaces and support for LGBTQ+ students.
BUCS’s newest support group is an online safe space for LGBTQ+ students. Students looking for mental health support and community are welcome regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
Alex Hernandez, vice president for Belmont’s LGBTQ+ student organization, Bridge Builders, said that she was pleased with this new initiative, especially in light of the Bridge Builders’ difficult start.
“In the last ten years, and even in my three years as vice president, we’ve seen a lot of positive change within the community at Belmont for a lot of the queer students on campus. This is a very good sign,” said Hernandez.
The LGBTQ+ student community faced an uphill battle getting started at Belmont, and Bridge Builders was only approved as a student organization on their third application after petitioning for two years.
That was a decade ago, though, and Hernandez said the new BUCS program represents a step toward inclusivity for queer students at the university.
Hernandez also highlighted the difference between this support group and Bridge Builders — where Bridge Builders is about education and creating a safe social space, the BUCS program is about mental health and support.
“We are happy to listen and create community around you, but the support group is great to hear about other people’s struggles and talk about your own,” said Hernandez.
Katherine Cornelius, the director of Counseling Services at Belmont, explained what students can expect from this support group.
“In these confidential spaces, students who participate can expect to actively give and receive support,” she said. “There is no pressure to attend all sessions of the support group. Students can attend weekly or drop in as they find it helpful.”
The group began meeting on Feb. 1, and sessions are every Monday at 10 a.m.
The weekly meeting can be accessed by a Zoom link on the Counseling Services page on MyBelmont or under the “Support Groups” tab on the Counseling Services website.
The announcement from counseling services reads: “This LGBTQ+ support group is here to support you on your journey. Join us as we navigate different topics and provide a space for you to come just as you are.”
This article was written by Margot Pierson.