Support - Education - Advocacy

Dear Members and Friends of PFLAG of Jacksonville,

It’s Mental Health Awareness Month, and what better way to think about the well-being of our youngsters than highlighting the great work being done to make Jacksonville a safer, more inclusive city for all?

We were encouraged to learn that at the end of April, the Nonprofit Center hosted the first LGBT Employee Resource Group (ERG) for non-profit staff. While many corporations and large agencies offer LGBT ERGs, many non-profits lack the structure and/or number of out LGBT employees to populate such a group. This is an encouraging step to offer support for LGBT workers, and ultimately their children, friends, and families.

If you have not already, we hope you will take some time to reflect on the results of the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). The YRBS includes data about the experiences of LGB and unsure youth, and while there were some improvements in student outcomes, there remains a prevalence of bullying, violence against, sense of unsafety, and self-injurious thinking among our LGB youth.

Thankfully, JASMYN is at the forefront of creating inclusive spaces for our students and youth. JASMYN's Alternative Prom is May 13th at Mosh. Check here to learn how to support and get involved:

We hope to see many of you at the Jacksonville ARMADA “PRIDE Night”on Saturday, May 7th. It’s encouraging that businesses, entertainment and sports industries are all joining the chorus of voices that encourage inclusivity. For tickets go here: and use PromoCode: ArmadaPride.

The Partnership for Child Health and Northwest behavioral Health is hosting its annual Mental Health and the Black Community Conference. “Collaborative Care Models: Meeting the Primary Care and Behavioral Needs of Diverse Children, Youth and Families” will be held at Edward Waters College on Thursday, May 12th, to explore innovative models for treating dually diagnosed indivduals. Learn more and register at

Later this month on May 23rd, the UNF LGBT Resource Center, and several community partners and sponsors, will host Willy Wilkinson, MPH, for the training “Providing Equal Access for Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Populations.” If you haven’t already, register here:

And we definitely hope to see you at our chapter meeting on May 19th, led by Amber Paoloemilio from Equality Florida and the Jacksonville Coalition for Equality. Amber will share updates about the Human RIghts Ordinance expansion effort, as well as how to navigate our own self-care during a time of seemingly renewed resistance to sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression inclusion. Look for more details soon.

These are just a few opportunities for you to consider how to learn about and support the well-being of children, youth and families in our community. We also hope you will take this month and every day to make discussions, learning and awareness of mental health part of business as usual. Whether through a smile, a check in with a friend or co-worker, sharing a personal story, or going on personal retreat, one of the best - and first - things we can do to improve the overall mental health of our community is to take care of our own, and be available to support those closest to us.

Thanks for all you do and all you are,

Garry Bevel


PFLAG of Jacksonville