Raising the Bar: How These Mental Wellness Organizations Bring Community to Pride Month

Employee group celebrations, community content and volunteer opportunities are on the program for Pride Month at these companies.

Written by Conlan Carter
Published on Jun. 04, 2024
Raising the Bar: How These Mental Wellness Organizations Bring Community to Pride Month
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When The Lesbian Bar Project debuted its 2020 fundraising campaign, there were only 15 lesbian bars left in the United States.

On a mission to preserve and celebrate “spaces for people of marginalized genders,” New York filmmakers Erica Rose and Elina Street raised enough money to eventually release a documentary short film — with over $150,000 donated directly to the existing U.S. lesbian bars. The campaign underlined the deep historical importance of LGBTQIA-inclusive spaces as places for community, celebration, education and activism. As of 2024, there are now 32 lesbian bars across the United States.

In the workplace, creating inclusive spaces is especially critical for LGBTQIA-identified employees. LGBTQIA employees often feel isolated, and pressured to keep their personal lives secret and that their sexual orientation will negatively affect their career progression, according to research from McKinsey & Company.

Like The Lesbian Bar Project, both of the companies featured below take an active approach to building and supporting LGBTQIA-focused spaces for their employees and their local communities. 

Calm provides in-person spaces for employees to decompress and celebrate one another alongside external content focused on queer mental health advocacy and education. SimplePractice focuses on employee-led communities, get-togethers and volunteering as part of its diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, or DEIB, initiatives. Built In Los Angeles caught up with leaders from both organizations to hear more about how these organizations take a thoughtful approach to celebrating Pride Month.

 

Scott Domann
Chief People Officer Salutation • Calm

Calm offers mental health, sleep and meditation resources and content via the Calm app.

 

Tell us about the activities Calm is coordinating for Pride Month. Are there any ties with local organizations?

Throughout June, Calm provides programming for our employees and releases content and resources dedicated to supporting belonging among the LGBTQIA+ community.

 

    CALM’S PRIDE MONTH CONTENT

    Fans of Calm have several programming items to look forward to this Pride Month:

    • The Calm Conversation: A remote interview with Raymond Braun and Dr. Sarah Moon that will explore the diverse experiences of LGBTQIA+ individuals and shed light on their unique mental health challenges in various contexts, including the workplace.
    • The LGBTQIA+ Resource Guide from Dr. Sarah Moon
    • The "Belonging" Collection: Includes insights from experts like Lama Rod Owens on coming out and relaxing sleep stories by LGBTQIA+ creators such as Orville Peck and Edgar Gomez. 

    During Pride Month we’ll host a variety of special events for our queer Calm employees to come together like Linda Loves Bingo — NYC’s No. 1 drag game show — and town halls featuring LGBTQIA+ mental health leaders to share their stories.

    Additionally, Calm empowers grassroots LGBTQIA+ centers across the United States and Canada by donating Calm subscriptions through The Tegan and Sara Foundation’s community grant program.
     

    How does Calm support and empower the LGBTQIA+ members of your team?

    At Calm, we’ve identified that people leaders and managers play a crucial role in creating a workplace environment that fosters a genuine sense of belonging for LGBTQIA+ employees. In Calm Business’ Workplace Mental Health Trends Report, LGBTQIA+ employees reported being 18 percent more likely to experience anxiousness, stress or nervousness compared to the general population. In turn, LGBTQIA+ employees who feel they have a manager who cares for their mental health are 20 percent less likely to feel trapped in their work and are three times less likely to leave their jobs.

    In order to effectively support mental health at work, leaders need to take a thoughtful and informed approach that considers the unique experiences of LGBTQIA+ employees. At Calm, we ensure proper mental health resources and manager training are provided. Giving employees access to mental health apps or workshops that allow them to proactively care for their mental health in and out of the workplace has proven crucial to our employee happiness and the success of our business. Additionally, it’s important to train mindful and inclusive managers and educate them on the variety of challenges different employees face that can impact work.
     

    “Leaders need to take a thoughtful and informed approach that considers the unique experiences of LGBTQIA+ employees.”

     

    Beyond the month of June, what are some examples of ways Calm supports or advocates for the LGBTQIA+ community?

    We offer employees a safe place to decompress: 53 percent of LGBTQIA+ respondents to Calm Business’ Workplace Mental Health Trends Report wish their employer offered access to self-care break rooms. By offering access to self-care break rooms, you provide employees a chance to decompress in a safe and nonjudgmental environment. We also have employee resource groups for our LGBTQIA+ employees to ensure they have a safe space to connect.

    We also emphasize creating an inclusive culture across the business. It is critical that employers take proactive and clear steps to make sure employees are free from discrimination and harassment. At Calm, we have established and communicated policies against hateful behavior and speech, promoting a culture of open dialogue and mutual respect. We believe this needs to be at the foundation of any business.

     

     

    Talia Klein-Lee
    Education & Quality Specialist; President, LGBTQIA+ Employee Resource Group • SimplePractice

     SimplePractice offers a suite of resources that health and wellness practitioners manage their businesses.

     

    Tell us about the activities SimplePractice is coordinating for Pride Month. Are there any ties with local organizations?

    SimplePractice team members are spread out across the United States, so the goal of the LGBTQIA+ employee resource group is to celebrate Pride Month through inclusive opportunities. We will hold in-person events in Los Angeles and Charlotte, NC, as well as virtual events.

    Our ERG is hosting a virtual letter-writing event in partnership with the Campaign for Southern Equality. In this virtual event, our team members will engage in a meaningful dialogue with a CSE representative before crafting personalized letters to transgender youth. These letters will be included in care packages for trans kids located in regions where discrimination is prevalent and access to support is limited.

    Our ERG members in Los Angeles will gather and attend the Angel City Football Club’s Pride Night at BMO Stadium. This in-person event offers an opportunity for our team to come together, enjoy the match and actively participate in the Pride festivities.

    In addition to celebrating our team members during Pride, we will be amplifying our LGBTQIA+ customers’ stories and resources throughout June.

     

    How does SimplePractice support and empower the LGBTQIA+ members of your team? 

    Initially an employee-led initiative, our ERG has evolved over the years. With the guidance of our dedicated DEIB Director, Monica Davis, we’ve been able to establish a formal structure, providing a platform for our passionate ERG leadership team to spearhead initiatives that foster community and belonging. This has allowed us to continuously innovate and implement programs that best serve our LGBTQIA+ team members. At the core of our mission is fostering meaningful contribution, and all team member voices are instrumental in shaping our direction.

     

    At the core of our mission is fostering meaningful contribution, and all team member voices are instrumental in shaping our direction.”

     

    We actively seek volunteer opportunities, from local LGBTQIA+ centers to virtual events like our recent Power Blossoms collaboration, aiming to impact marginalized communities.

    We also prioritize creating spaces for social connection and education. From virtual to in-person social gatherings, like our West Hollywood lunch social, we provide opportunities to build relationships and celebrate our diverse identities. We recognize the importance of education, including our speaker events on topics such as gender identity and pronoun awareness, furthering our commitment to fostering inclusivity and understanding.
     

    Beyond the month of June, what are some examples of ways SimplePractice supports or advocates for the LGBTQIA+ community?

    There is a strong track record of receptiveness to employee feedback and working toward changes to reflect the team’s voice. The establishment of the DEIB director role signifies movement toward fostering those values within our organization. 

    DEIB at SimplePractice has provided support for the growth of the LGBTQIA+ ERG as well as the addition of new ERGs in the company. This has provided a framework and financial support to our ERGs, empowering us to expand our programs and initiatives. While there is ongoing work to be done, I am confident in our leadership’s commitment to listening to our team members’ voices and supporting efforts to advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community.

     

     

    Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images provided by Shutterstock and listed companies.

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