Queer Kentucky Expanding Resources with $300K to Improve LGBTQ+ Mental Health and Prevent Suicide

Queer Kentucky is a diverse LGBTQ+ run non-profit based in Louisville, Kentucky working to bolster and enhance Queer culture and health through storytelling, education and action. Through our storytelling approach, we give visibility and celebrate the lives of LGBTQ+ people in the great Bluegrass State.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. Aug 15, 2023


Queer Kentucky is launching a new partnership with the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky (FHKY) to improve LGBTQ+ mental health in the Commonwealth. FHKY’s mission is to address the unmet health needs of Kentuckians by developing and influencing policy, improving access to care, reducing health risks and disparities, and promoting health equity. Through this new partnership, FHKY will provide funding of more than $300,000 to Queer Kentucky to support outreach to the LGBTQ+ community across Kentucky for mental health access and suicide prevention and awareness.

Due to the political climate in Kentucky with legislation like SB 150, simply existing as LGBTQ+ has negative effects on health. Much of the LGBTQ+ community also lacks access to healthcare due to fear of discrimination, “traditional” social support systems (like family), and the community lacks economic stability. These are all factors that negatively influence individual health. At its most extreme, those negative effects don’t just make people sick — they can drive them to take their own lives.

According to the Trevor Project, 45 percent of young LGBTQ+ people seriously considered attempting suicide in 2021. That’s 45 percent too high.

Over the next year, Queer Kentucky will gather data and create programming related to breaking down the stigma related to mental health care and removing barriers to health care access important to the LGBTQ+ community. This programming includes distributing HIV self-testing kits, offering Mindful Movement (trauma-informed breath and bodywork in an LGBTQ+ affirming space), and supporting Queer Kentucky journalists and publications.

Our platform was built around the foundation of the catchphrase “visibility is life-saving” and the FHKY partnership enables QKY to tell MORE queer stories of hope. More people will be able to pick up a magazine or jump on our website and see people with their experiences. 

“Every queer person, and every person for that matter, has experienced the highs and lows of mental health,” said Spencer Jenkins, founder and Executive Director of Queer Kentucky. “I, myself, have publically struggled with substance abuse and other mental health issues and when these issues originally arose, I didn’t know about mental health services or that help was out there for LGBTQ+ people. I thought I was alone. I never want another queer person to think they’re alone. That is how we die.”

Queer Kentucky’s main goal with this partnership is to let people know they aren’t alone. We hope to empower people to find their way to help and/or empower others to bring help to those who are struggling to ask. Queer people are not a monolith, and neither is mental health, and we believe any journey to a healthier mental space is valid. By sharing these stories and offering meaningful programming, Queer Kentuckians will find they have a community.