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In partnership with SFSS Out On Campus, Health and Counselling Services is paying particular attention to the unique needs of LGBTQIA2S+ students' health needs and exploring how we can better meet those needs-- especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. We recognize that your individual health situations and needs are unique and complex, and that healthcare settings are often unsafe or uncomfortable for some. While we may not always be able to offer the most suitable support for you, we are nonetheless there to support your overall health, wellbeing, and success at SFU.
See below for the services we offer that may be relevant to you, as well as information about other resources, both on and off-campus, that can offer more specialized, queer-competent care and support.
LGBTQ2+ Radical Self-Care Group
Join Out On Campus and Health & Counselling Services' clinical counsellor, Jocelyn Coburn, for facilitated drop-in discussion groups this semester. Topics include maintaining a healthy relationship with the news; finding stucture and motivation when working from home; healthy relationships in the era of COVID-19; finding community and boundary-setting online; and safe sex and consent during a pandemic.
SFSS Out On Campus Events
Join SFSS Out On Campus at multiple virtual events throughout the summer term. Events include LGBTea, The Remote Game Agenda, Remote Breakfast Club, WriteOUT!, and a weekly screening of Sex Education (Netflix TV show).
COVID-19 Emotional Support Group for LGBTQ2+ Students
Are you struggling with distress and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic? Has your mental health been impacted by physical distancing or self-isolating? Are you feeling alone? Come join our virtual support group and create a safe space where you can connect with other LGBTQ2+ students, share how you feel, and receive support.
Health & Counselling Services
Our team of medical professionals are here on all three campuses to support your health and well-being. Book a medical appointment or a counselling appointment with us today, or check out our workshops and programs that run throughout the year to support your success at SFU.
When booking an initial appointment, you can ask to see our Health Nurse. Our Health Nurse can help triage your needs and identify an appropriate provider. Conversely, you can contact Out On Campus for suggestions prior to booking.
Monday to Friday
9:00am to 4:30pm
Out On Campus
Out On Campus (OOC) is SFU's LGBTQIA2S+ centre, brought to you by the SFSS with further support from the GSS. OOC provides a safer space for people of all genders and sexuality. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, OOC has created a Discord Server open to all SFU and FIC students, where you can connect to SFU's queer community, access peer support from staff with mental health first aid training and other students, and join community-building events that will support your wellbeing and social connection. You can also sign up for their newsletter where you'll receive regular updates about upcoming online events, links to online resources to support your mental health and wellbeing, and links to financial support available to you.
Monday to Friday
9:00am to 4:00pm
Location: TC 314-N (Rotunda)
QMUNITY is a non-profit organization that works to improve queer, trans, and Two-Spirit lives through services, connection and leadership. By providing a safer space, LGBTQ/2S people and their allies can fully self-express while feeling welcome and included.
Phone: 604.684.5307 ext. 108
Rainbow Refugee is a Vancouver based community group that supports people seeking refugee protection in Canada because of persecution based on sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression (SOGIE) or HIV status.
Health Initiative for Men (HIM)
With five health centres throughout the Lower Mainland, Health Initiative for Men is a non-profit society that aims to strengthen the health and well-being of gay men. We offer the full spectrum of gay men’s sexual health testing, as well as professional counselling, sexual health education, and an engaging mix of social and volunteer opportunities.
The Trevor Project
The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25.
them is a next-generation community platform that chronicles and celebrates the stories, people and voices that are emerging and inspiring people. Topics range from pop culture and style to politics and news, all through the lens of today’s LGBTQ community.
AMSSA is a unique province-wide association that strengthens over 70 member agencies, as well as hundreds of community stakeholder agencies who serve immigrants and newcomers, and build culturally inclusive communities, with the knowledge, resources and support they need to fulfill their mandates.
Learn more (scroll down for resources and support groups)
Trans Lifeline is a trans-led organization that connects trans people to the community, support, and resources they need to survive and thrive.
Crisis Centre of BC
The Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Centre of BC (Crisis Centre) is a non-profit, volunteer organization committed to helping people help themselves and others deal with crisis. The centre has been providing emotional support to youth, adults and seniors in distress since 1969. As a safe place to turn when there seems to be no hope, the Crisis Centre is operated by 425+ frontline volunteers and a small team of professional staff who support and empower individuals to see their own strengths and options, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Distress line: 1.800.784.2433
Mental Health Support Line
This number will connect you to your local BC crisis line without a wait or busy signal, 24 hours a day. Crisis line workers are trained to help provide emotional support as well as mental health information and resources.
Phone: 310.6789 (no area code required)
COVID-19 Pandemic FAQs
What services can I access from Health and Counselling Services during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Due to COVID-19, many services will now be offered through virtual formats when possible. Most services are still available; however, please contact us to confirm the availability of services.
Counselling has made a number of new remote appointment slots available to students for immediate booking during the pandemic, these are available either by phone or Zoom. You will have a one-off session with a counsellor who will help connect you with resources and strategies to cope during this challenging time. Together, you and your counsellor will decide if you would like to have one or two follow up appointments with them. In many cases, you may be able to make a same day or next day appointment.
I am chest binding and worried about my risk of developing severe complications as a result of COVID-19. How can I protect myself?
If you are asymptomatic, you may continue to safely chest bind. Out On Campus has published a resource on this, available here.
As an additional precaution, you may consider reducing the amount of time you wear your binder per day, wearing a larger or more worn-in binder, or more strictly observing physical distancing guidance.
If you are experiencing difficulties breathing, you should remove your binder to allow maximum air flow to your lungs. Deep breathing and stretching may help you with this. Depending on your ability to breathe, you may be able to wear a sports bra or multiple shirts to help flatten or obscure your chest and reduce feelings of dysphoria.
If changing your binding habits causes you significant distress, please make an appointment with a counsellor; they can support you in managing these feelings.
I am HIV-positive and worried about my risk of developing severe complications as a result of COVID-19. How can I protect myself?
At present there is no evidence that the risk of infection or complications of COVID-19 is different among people living with HIV who are clinically and immunologically stable on antiretroviral treatment when compared with the general population.
People living with HIV with advanced disease, those with low CD4 and high viral load, and those who are not taking antiretroviral treatment have an increased risk of infections and related complications in general.
People living with HIV are advised to take the same precautions as the general population.
I am taking antiretroviral drugs to manage my HIV. Is there a risk that my drug access will be impacted by the pandemic?
Your access could be impacted by your ability to leave the house and collect your prescription. If you are concerned about this, call St. Paul’s Hospital-- the dispenser for antiretroviral therapy in the Metro Vancouver area-- to discuss having your medicine sent to a nearby pharmacy (requiring 3 days notice), or couriered to your home for a fee (requiring 7 days notice). If you are concerned about anonymity (e.g., you are living on-campus in Residence), Health and Counselling Services is willing to receive your package for you to pick up discreetly.
Several studies have suggested that patients infected with the virus causing COVID-19, and the related coronavirus infections (SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV) had good clinical outcomes, with almost all cases recovering fully. In some cases, patients were given an antiretroviral drug, lopinavir boosted with ritonavir (LPV/r). These studies were mostly carried out in HIV-negative individuals.
It is important to note that these studies using LPV/r had important limitations. The studies were small; timing, duration and dosing for treatment were varied; and most patients received co-interventions/co-treatments, which may have contributed to the reported outcomes. LPV/r is not currently being recommended as a treatment for COVID-19, and other antiretrovirals are available in this case.
I am undergoing gender-affirming hormone replacement therapy. Will my therapy be impacted by the pandemic?
Health and Counselling Services will currently continue to administer HRT by injection for those who are uncomfortable with administering their own injections.
To the best of our knowledge, there are no current shortages of HRT medications in pharmacies, with the exception of subcutaneous Testosterone, which predates the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are taking subcutaneous injections and are worried about a shortage, please speak to your doctor about your alternative options.
If you are self-injecting and require advice, please contact SFU Health & Counselling Services and ask to speak with Barb. Alternatively, you can chat with your regular nurse about your specific needs. Both Barb and your regular nurse may be able to safely supply you with the items needed for safe self-injection.
When you are filing your prescriptions and/or picking up injection supplies, please be mindful that there are others who require these supplies as well. Stockpiling supplies/prescriptions may have profoundly negative effects on other people in the trans community. Just like any other prescription, stockpiling or hoarding takes away vital resources from others and can lead to shortages later down the road.
I have not yet started HRT and I cannot wait until this pandemic is over. Can I still begin this process through Health and Counselling Services?
We recommend that you book a phone or virtual appointment with a doctor at SFU Health and Counselling Services to discuss your needs. Initiating testosterone therapy is decided on a case by case basis. You may be encouraged to delay starting your injectable testosterone during the height of the pandemic, as this is the safest option for both you and your practitioners. Any doctor in BC is able to perform a hormone readiness assessment, and the details of this process can be discussed with your doctor. However, before you begin injectable testosterone, you will need to get a blood test done. Public Health is currently encouraging everyone to practice physical distancing and stay home unless necessary. Thus, you may not be able to begin your treatment for a number of months.
We highly discourage any attempts at self-administering testosterone without training and regular monitoring from your doctor. Improper injection technique can lead to serious and permanent health consequences. If you do not intend to follow this medical advice and wish to proceed independently, regardless of the risk, then this guide will help you administer the injections more safely.
If delaying this process causes you significant distress, please make an appointment with a counsellor, who can support you in managing these feelings.
How can I stay connected to my community while social distancing?
Out On Campus has created a Discord server where LGBTQIA2S+ SFU/FIC students and allies can stay connected, participate in online events, and access peer support from staff and other students.
The Vancouver Pride Society has confirmed that its Pride parade will no longer be taking place and that it will be exploring ways for you to enjoy the festivities from the safety of your home. For up-to-date information about their plans, see the Vancouver Pride Society Facebook page or website.
Other alternatives include:
*9:30 am – 4:30 pm
Monday – Friday
*Closed for lunch from 12:30pm to 1:30pm
Maggie Benston Centre, Room 0101