Members of the LGBTQ+ community are at higher risk for experiencing mental health conditions. In this panel discussion, practitioners and community advocates will talk about the challenges that face this community in accessing mental health care, including the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Our panelists include psychologist Dr. Richard Stillson, psychologist Dr. Laura Saunders of Hartford Health Care, and Edson Rivas, director of the Triangle Community Center in Norwalk. The conversation will be moderated by Ilene Frank, CHS Chief Curator.
This event is presented in support of the CHS’s exhibition, Common Struggle, Individual Experience: An Exhibition About Mental Health. Come early to view the exhibition before the program! Doors open at 5:00 pm.
This event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be provided. Please let us know if you plan to attend!
About our Panelists
Dr. Richard Stillson (ze, zir, they, them) is a licensed psychologist who is in semi-retirement after 26 years working for the State of CT in a variety of inpatient, outpatient and residential services for people with mental health, substance use and intellectual/developmental disabilities. Ze is in private practice with transgender and gender variant individuals at Hartford Psychological Services providing a group intervention for the past 5 years. Ze is also the Clinical Director providing supervision to students and consultation to clinical staff. Ze has clinical expertise in CBT, DBT, co-occurring disorders, ART, trauma-informed care and sees people in all modalities of group, couples, family and individual. Ze is a non-binary, gay human.
Edson Rivas (he,him, his) is the Executive Director of Triangle Community Center, an LGBTQ+ center focused on providing programs and services centered around community, health and learning. He took over as TCC’s ED in July of 2020 and comes from a finance background working with publicly traded companies. Edson has been involved with TCC since 2015, joining the Board of Directors and rotating through various executive positions before becoming Board President in 2020. TCC’s clinical department works with LCSW and LMFT’s to provide care to our clients as well as supervision for MSW and MFT students that go through our internship program.
Laura M. I. Saunders, Psy.D. ABPP (she/her/hers) is a staff psychologist working in Young Adult Services at the Institute of Living/Hartford Hospital. Dr. Saunders is the Clinical Coordinator of The Right Track/LGBTQ Intensive Outpatient program in Young Adult Services for individuals struggling with co-occurring emotional difficulties, minority stress and identity development. In 2015, Dr. Saunders was named the Employee of the Year for Hartford Hospital. In 2019, Dr. Saunders was the recipient of the Ned Graffagnino Award for distinguished service in the areas of community-oriented work and collaboration with other mental health professionals. She is the Director of the newly formed Center for Gender Health at Hartford Healthcare. Areas of expertise include LGBTQ mental health, child psychopathology, behavior management, parent training and family therapy. She appears regularly in local TV news to provide psychological input on topics relevant to youth and families and currently has a weekly segment on WFSB/Ch. 3 Great Day CT related to child mental health.