Spring Lake Ranch: A Community for ALL

Pride dance at SLR

Happy Pride!

What is Pride Month if not the celebration of a community persevering over oppression and reclaiming an identity in the face of stigmatization? It’s also an opportunity to remember those who have come before us. Those who worked to get us to where we are today. They fought so that we can celebrate.

This feels like a good opportunity to talk about the disparity of experience between cisgendered, heteronormative folks and those who belong to the LGBT+ community. The Trevor Project conducted a 2022 nationwide research project on LGBTQ youth and mental health. Their findings were harrowing. Sixty percent of LGBTQ youth who wanted access to mental health care were not able to get it. This is despite 73% of the same group experiencing symptoms of anxiety and 58% felt some depressive symptoms. Factors that precluded this group from receiving treatment include:

  • “fear of discussing mental health concerns”
  • “fear of not being taken seriously”
  • “concerns about being misunderstood”

This reality leads to higher rates of suicidality in LGBT+ populations. Some studies have found this rate to be up to four times the national average.

But, there is hope!

The same research talks about the importance of support and acceptance within a community. Rates of suicide attempts dropped to less than half when LGBT+ youth had access to high social support. Theories about the mechanism for this relationship include: day-to-day emotional support, protection from real or perceived violence, connection to others, and stimulation of cognitive function through social connection.

So now I’m thinking about an emotionally supportive community, where day-to-day interactions foster feelings of protection and connection to others. Maybe a place that understands and discusses concepts such as mental health in community settings. That sounds pretty familiar. Our work as Ranchers is to create an environment where we not only accept everyone, but celebrate them.

And I have the cool opportunity to see that process in action. Each day, I get to witness residents and staff alike connect and share their experience in supportive ways. I get to see the community embrace new Ranchers and welcome them into the fold. I get to watch as residents explore, make meaning of, and embrace their differences in ways that make them feel powerful.

So this month of Pride, I’m feeling extra grateful to be part of this community. And guess what! You don’t have to be on the Hill to be in this community too! The Spring Lake Ranch community spreads far beyond these seven hundred acres in the Green Mountains. As our Ranchers move on, they bring that community with them. It comes with them when they are curious instead of judgmental. It’s there when they choose to celebrate and accept. And I hope you bring it with you as well. Whatever your connection to the Ranch, I hope you feel accepted and share that experience with others.

CARF Accredited: Spring Lake Ranch programs are CARF accredited. The CARF accreditation signals our commitment to continually improving services, encouraging feedback, and serving the community.

Spring Lake Ranch is a member of the American Residential Treatment Association (ARTA). ARTA members are dedicated to providing extraordinary care to adults with mental illness.