Programming Connection

Sexual Health Information Project (SHIP) 

Griffin Centre Mental Health Services
Ontario
2012

What is the program?

Developed in partnership with LGBTQ youth labelled with intellectual disabilities, reachOUT’s Sexual Health Information Project (SHIP) is a collaborative resource development project. SHIP is designed to raise awareness about the specific issues facing LGBTQ youth labelled with intellectual disabilities while reducing stigma and building capacity among participants.

Run out of Griffin Centre Mental Health Services in North Toronto, SHIP is part of the broader reachOUT program, which offers supports and services for LGBTQ youth. As part of reachOUT’s mandate to raise awareness of the issues faced by LGBTQ youth labelled with intellectual disabilities, SHIP engages youth in the creation of resources—including workshop modules, posters, brochures and a documentary. These resources are designed to increase visibility and reduce the isolation often experienced by LGBTQ youth labelled with intellectual disabilities. By engaging youth in the creation of such resources, the program allows participants to build self-confidence, communication skills and an increased sense of community, which, in turn, can empower them to make informed decisions about their lives, including decisions that can lower their risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). By incorporating anti-oppression, anti-racism and sex-positive frameworks into its work, SHIP provides more accessible services for LGBTQ youth labelled with intellectual disabilities, while acknowledging the impact of multiple intersecting oppressions experienced by these communities.

Acknowledgements:

CATIE would like to thank the reachOUT Consultants and staff for their advice and wisdom, and for their significant contribution towards the writing of this case study.