“It takes a lot for them – LGBTQ+ community members – to be alive,” said Laura Davis, co-owner of Amaryllis Counseling, an agency designed to provide affirmative mental health therapy targeted, but not limited to, the LGBTQ+ community in Upstate South Carolina, which has now formed an offshoot organization, 864Pride, to escalate quality care to the next level.
“We have specific aims of creating and sustaining mental health programming that does not currently exist for LGBTQ+ individuals. We seek to provide funding for LGBTQ+ community members to gain access to medical and mental health care, and through clinical training, we aim to increase the number of affirming providers.”
Elizabeth Serricchio founded Amaryllis Counseling and brought in Davis as a business partner in this startup organization. Having met in the clinical environment together they determined such a need for 864Pride services existed after witnessing “a great deal of pain and hurt” counseling members of the LGBTQ+ community. “It comes down to love – this commitment to providing affirming services to a marginalized population,” Serricchio said.
For several years, Serricchio said community partners of Amaryllis consistently said services either did not exist, affirming and qualified providers were hard to find, or services were inaccessible due to cost. “Amaryllis has done what it can to meet the need, but it still fell short in its ability to create necessary programming and make it accessible to folks who can't afford services,” she added. “The foundation of 864Pride is to avoid marginalizing the people most in need of help with little to no resources.”
864Pride is a clinical non-profit that strives to reduce environmental and financial barriers to ensure that all members of the LGBTQ+ community have access to quality medical and mental health care and support. To achieve this, the organization and its volunteer Board of Directors are seeking grants and raising funds for evidence-based programs provided by Amaryllis Counseling and other identified LGBTQ+ affirming community partners.
Davis explains that “864Pride was born from an idea that we can imagine a world where we break down barriers to services and increase access for everyone because we know it saves lives. We wanted to combine our clinical experience with community access.”
For both clinicians, 864Pride began as a dream to create a peer support program that is fully funded and free for the community. “We saw our clients struggling to know the proper steps or to be re-traumatized as they walked through things like a name change process, a first endocrinologist appointment, or adapting to new fashions, or learning about makeup,” said Davis. “We want to create a safe space with safe people to aid in support because we recognize the incredible value even one supportive person does for a trans or non-binary person.”
Services through 864 Pride include:
• BLOOM – a clinical educational component targeting youth and focused on individual, family, and group therapy bolstered by training for companies, educators, and affirming clinicians within the Upstate who seek to implement evidence-based care and proper interactions with LGBTQ+ folks.
• Scholarship Fund – a means to provide monies for Hormone Replacement Therapy, counseling services, or any other medical needs transgender and non-binary folks need.
• LEAP – a trans peer support program offering 1:1 peer support as well as group support for any person who believes they would benefit from hearing another’s story through their personal social and medical transition.
According to both Davis and Serricchio, no other company like 864Pride exists in South Carolina. “Our business combines decades of clinical, groundwork experience with the ear of the community to consistently deliver real services that they need now,” the founder’s pledge.
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