Happy Pride Month

A group of young people celebrating Pride

Happy Pride Month

A group of young people celebrating Pride

Celebrating Pride Month with Horses for Mental Health: Embracing Diversity and Inclusivity within the Sector

Pride Month is a time to celebrate our LGBTQ+ friends, family, coworkers, and community members. At Horses for Mental Health, we are proud to honor and support our friends and colleagues in the LGBTQ+ community. We recognize the importance of diversity, inclusion, and representation, and the need for accessible mental health services for everyone.

Representation Matters! Pride Month is an opportunity to reflect on the progress we’ve made within our modern society and the journey still ahead of us in creating a more accepting and inclusive world. Horses for Mental Health’s commitment to spreading awareness and increasing access to quality mental health programs with horses includes ensuring everyone knows there is a space for them within our community.

Meet the new Executive Director of Horses for Mental Health!

Hello HMH Community,

I am thrilled to introduce myself as the new, and first, Executive Director for Horses for Mental Health. I’m excited to be leading this incredible advocacy organization that is working to promote the work of organizations and mental health specialists harnessing the unique power of the human-horse connection.

Headshot of Tyler standing in a tree lined plaza

Horses for Mental Health’s mission to elevate the role of horses in mental well-being and personal journeys deeply aligns with my own experiences. I’ve witnessed firsthand the transformative power of these magnificent creatures, and I wholeheartedly believe in their ability to support healing and growth.
As we near the end of Pride month, I also want to acknowledge the importance of inclusivity for everyone. Our mission thrives on the strength of diversity of our teams, partners, donors, volunteers, and most importantly, individuals who are supported through programs incorporating horses.

As a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community, horses have helped me on my journey of self-love and acceptance. During a time of depression, anxiety, and anger due to rejection from family, church, and community, I participated in equine-assisted mental health sessions in Guatemala. I felt lost, alone, and undeserving of love – all because of who I was.

Frankly, I was skeptical. But like many clients, I gave it a try. Entering the arena, I approached two horses who kept retreating from me. This echoed the rejection I had secretly felt my entire life. Standing alone on a mountainside in a foreign country, the pain was overwhelming.

The next day, the same thing happened. But this time, I had a choice. Would I base my self-worth on others’ actions, or choose self-love regardless of external acceptance? In that moment, a sense of peace came over me as I realized I could always have self-love.

As I stood there, centered and true to myself, the horses surprisingly approached me. This experience became a powerful metaphor for the strength found in embracing one’s authentic self. It showed me that happiness and connection come from true authenticity.

If you’re struggling in any capacity, know this: you’re not alone. There’s a whole herd of people cheering you on, ready to welcome you for who you are.

Together, we can make a difference: Horses for Mental Health is committed to amplifying the reach of the hundreds of organizations and dedicated individuals tirelessly providing mental health resources across the U.S. and beyond. I’m excited to collaborate and grow our impact together.

All the best,

Tyler Brklacich

How can horses help?

Horses don’t judge and they accept us as we are. Horses offer a safe, intuitive, and peaceful setting for healing to take place, as they help us bring parts of ourselves to light. As part of our mission to spread awareness of the healing power of horses, we seek to share stories of transformation that illustrate the healing journey and personal growth people can experience through the involvement of horses in mental health programs and services.

Watch the video below which follows Kendall’s journey through self-love and self-acceptance with the help of mental health professionals and a special horse, named Magic.

How Can We Better Support our LGBTQ+ Friends, Family Members, and Colleagues?

As we celebrate Pride Month, we want to highlight key strategies that can protect LGBTQ+ individuals within our communities who are navigating mental health challenges.

Did you know? Pride Month is celebrated in June to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall riots in the United States – a series of demonstrations that brought unprecedented progress for LGBTQ+ rights
National Geographic

Strengthening Familial Relationships

A strong support system at home can make a world of difference for LGBTQ+ individuals. If someone you love identifies within the LGBTQ+ community, the most important thing you can do is let them know they are loved and accepted just as they are. Familial support can significantly impact one’s mental health, and we strongly advocate for understanding, acceptance, and open communication within families, creating a nurturing environment for LGBTQ+ individuals to thrive.

Fostering LGBTQ+ Friendships and Community Connections

Building connections within the LGBTQ+ community is essential for reducing stigma and isolation. Whether through in-person events, online forums, or social media platforms, these connections provide a vital support network. At Horses for Mental Health, we celebrate the power of community and encourage our supporters to openly embrace and support those who identify as LGBTQ+ so they feel confident engaging in mental health programs and services with horses and will feel wholly appreciated and accepted.

Implementing Diversity, Inclusion & Anti-Bullying Policies Within Your Organization

Creating safe and inclusive spaces within and outside of the workplace is crucial for the well-being of LGBTQ+ individuals. Policies that specifically address sexual orientation and gender identity can reduce instances of bullying and harassment within our organizations and workplaces. We encourage the establishment of anti-harassment measures and support the formation of alliance clubs where LGBTQ+ individuals can connect and find solidarity. Such measures have been linked to fewer suicide attempts and a healthier mental state among LGBTQ+ individuals.

Seeking Mental Health Help with Horses

Horses for Mental Health uplifts nonprofit organizations that integrate professional mental health services with the healing power of horses, offering a unique and supportive environment for all individuals. You can find a list of our incredible Charity Partner organizations at horsesformentalhealth.org/campaign/#partners.

A couple holding hands with each other, while a horse stands beside them.

Donate to Horses for Mental Health!

By donating to Horses for Mental Health, you support our mission to make a meaningful difference within the sector by uplifting organizations that provide mental health services incorporating horses to individuals from all backgrounds.

Together, we can make a more inclusive world where everyone has the opportunity to heal and grow through the unique bond between humans and horses.

Happy Pride Month from all of us at Horses for Mental Health!

HMH Pride Banner graphic

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