April Fools’ Day 2020 did not have the laughter, pranks and jokes that we’ve come to expect or anticipate. As a culture, we’ve been cut off from social gatherings to protect the larger public health and safety concerns brought on by COVID-19.
But as humans, we still need laughter, the chance to share, the space to vent, and the opportunity to grow with others. We need to connect. Social Isolation has been shown to have major negative health consequences including “depression, poor sleep quality, impaired executive function, accelerated cognitive decline, poor cardiovascular function and impaired immunity at every stage of life” (Novotney, 2019).
When the 1918 Influenza Pandemic hit, less than 30% of American households had telephones; for middle to lower income families it was closer to 20% with in home phones (Fischer, 1992, p.116-118), leaving close to 70% of households in real-time communication isolation. One hundred years later, 96% of Americans own a cellphone, 81% own a smartphone, and nearly 75% have broadband Internet service at home (Pew Research Center, 2019).
Combine the very real human need for connection with increased quality and ability for communication and Shazam! the Borderland Rainbow Center (BRC) now offers Counseling via phone or video and Online Support Groups in order to cooperate with the safety practices of the state of Texas. Virtual support groups can reduce isolation and loneliness, and you can connect from the comfort of your home. If you’ve been curious about attending a support group before but were unsure if it was for you this is a great time to check it out, and there is the option to call in via phone or log in with the webcam off.
Here’s what the BRC offers for weekly support groups:
Tuesdays 6:30-8pm Stonewall Addictions Anonymous
Wednesdays 6:00-8:00pm True Colors LGBT Youth Support Group
Thursdays 6:30-8:00pm Weekly Family Transgender Support Group
Thursdays 6:30-8:00pm Transgender Youth Support Group
Sundays 4:00-5:30pm Transgender Adult Support Group
The web links for the each group can be found on Borderland Rainbow Center (https://www.borderlandrainbow.org/, https://www.facebook.com/borderlandrainbowcenter/, and BorderlandRainbow on Instagram), or by calling 915-263-4623 to get the telephone call-in access codes.
Fischer, C. (1992). America calling. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press.
Novotney,A. (2019). The Risks of Social Isolation. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/monitor/2019/05/ce-corner-isolation.
Pew Research Center. (2019). Demographics of Mobile Device Ownership and Adoption in the United States. Retrieved from https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/fact-sheet/mobile/