Post submitted by Maureen McCarty, former HRC Deputy Director of Marketing

Tomorrow the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will honor Qaiel Peltier, a young LGBTQ adult who worked as a peer support leader at the National Children’s Mental Health Aware Day launch event in National Harbor Maryland.

Qaiel, who is from Eureka, Calif., will join three other young adults to share their personal experiences of resilience and the value of peer support networks. Qaiel knows firsthand what it is like to be target of bullying and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender expression, and has used personal experience with the behavioral health challenges associated with these difficulties to connect with others in college and LGBTQ youth-serving organizations.

There is ample evidence that societal prejudice causes significant medical, psychological and other harms to LGBT people. In a groundbreaking survey, HRC found that LGBT youth reported even harsher, more prevalent cases of bullying in schools. In fact, LGBT youth are twice as likely to say they have been physically assaulted, kicked or shoved at school, and a shocking 92 percent say they hear negative messages about being LGBT.

Speakers will include U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, and Honorary Chairperson Chiara de Blaiso, along with her parents, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray.

To watch the event, which will be held in conjunction with the National Council for Behavioral Health’s annual conference, live visit

Filed under: Parenting, Community

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