All communities in Great Falls are being affected by the virus, but social distancing doesn’t stop virtual hang-outs online.
The LGBTQ community hosted a "coffee e-social" where they met to hang out and connect with each other virtually. MTN reporter Jennifer Walter joined in on the meeting and says at any given time there was at least four people in the "e-Social" and at one point had 12 people in the meeting, chatting about anything from work to pets to children.
Jasmine Cassandra of the Great Falls LGBTQ Center said these are trying times but everyone is still here to help.
“If you’re one of those people that’s in a situation or stuck at home with family that doesn’t support you, or maybe you’re not in a safe situation, you’re not alone. Please continue to reach out we will still be there for you even if we can’t do it in person, we still have referrals available. We want everyone to know they aren’t alone during this time, we are still there and still love you and still see you, we will be here whenever you need us."
The LGBTQ community has seen an added stress during the difficulties of being isolated, Cassandra said: “This has been a particular difficult period especially if you’re isolated with family members that are maybe not supportive. Social isolation is always a very real issue for the LGBTQ community and not being able to see people face to face had definitely increased anxiety, feelings of isolation things that we normally medicate by having the center open and having our social activities."
Even though they aren’t able to see you in person the Center says they are still available if you need help. “We have decided to keep all our regular business hours open but on a digital basis; the Center itself and the building we are in are not open obviously so what we’re doing is being available through Facebook messenger, via email, via telephone we have Google Hangouts, and so if you need to reach out to someone we are still there and still open,” Jasmine said.
And if you are feeling overwhelmed with everything, they are here to help: "What we have is access to mental health referrals and we really encourage people to reach out even if its digitally; we can still connect you with a counselor if you’re having depression or anxiety, exacerbated by the circumstance.”
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