‘Dancing With The Stars’, the awareness of transgender people in our communities has been raised. Contrary to what many people may think, transgender people don’t just live in Hollywood or San Francisco. Sacramento and the surrounding areas are home to many transgender people.
An obvious challenge for most transgender men and women is wrestling between their physical and mental identities. The high level of mental energy necessary to balance all the aspects of life for transgender people can result in depression, withdrawal, destructive behavior and other mental health challenges.
Fortunately for the transgender population in Sacramento the Gender Health Center (GHC) is a great resource for counseling and support. GHC is a relatively new counseling center opened just 15 months ago and is centered on the counseling needs of the LGBTQI community in Sacramento; focusing on the “T” or transgender.
Their services embrace the psychological well-being and self-fulfillment of individuals coming out or in the transition process with a safe, supportive and welcoming environment. While their core services are directed at gender identity transitions, their counseling staff can also support family members and friends of transgender men and women. Gender Health Center is a not for profit agency and their fees are based on a sliding scale.
Danelle E. Saldana, M.A., MFT began the daunting task of forming the project in April of 2008. Her plan was vivid and nearly complete right from the start and a lot of prep work was done fairly quickly. She worked tirelessly on the GHC writing letters, making projections, and creating processes until she unexpectedly passed away in her sleep at 30 years old in early 2009.
When other members of the community found out about this, they quickly jumped on board to finish the work that Danelle started. Community members met on a monthly basis as the interest for making this project happen grew and grew. The planning finally came to completion early in 2010 allowing GHC to open to the public on July 7, 2010.
Today, GHC is led by Executive Director Ben Hudson. He has served on the board of
the Sacramento Gender Association and is co-founder of the Sacramento Transgender Coalition and TransFamilies Sacramento. Ben has a clear vision and purpose for the center with stated measures of success for the transgender community. Above all, Ben stresses that good mental health services and counseling will make the transgender person more healthy and productive in their life and community.
The Clinical Director is Dr. David Nylund who has over 25 years of clinical experience working in many contexts including community mental health, non-profit agencies, managed care settings, and private practice. Dr. Nylund is an associate professor of Social Work at California State University, Sacramento and the former clinical director of the Sacramento Gay and Lesbian Center’s counseling program. He is an expert on transgender mental health care and is a full-standing member of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH).
Sacramento is very fortunate to have such a resource as the Gender Health Center. When you visit their offices and see what they have accomplished with virtually the whole staff comprised of volunteers, it is apparent the commitment level of all involved is quite high. The Gender Health Center is a tribute to the depth of knowledge, compassion and diversity that resides in Sacramento. You can contact the GHC at 916-455-2391. Their location is 2020 29th Street, Suite 201, Sacramento, CA 95817