Quest seeks to expand services to the community by offering a free, inclusive game night open to the public.
Written by Rachel Boehm
Development and Communications Manager
Quest Center for Integrative Health has sought to foster community engagement since its founding in 1989. Community Nutrition Night and our annual Community Day headline these efforts. Queer Game Night is the latest community building resource here at Quest Center for Integrative Health. The monthly game sessions seek to expand queer-focused and safe spaces in Portland, while offering a sober space for people to foster relationships.
Quest therapists Kara Edge and Mara Burmeister formed Queer Game Night after picking up on various themes during individual therapy sessions. Both therapists listened to numerous stories around lack of connection and social support, especially for Queer-identified folks.
“I was having so many clients talk about feeling isolated and not having friends and not having community,” says Mara. Queer Game Night offers a different kind of engagement than Quest’s other events. “I was thinking it would be more of a laid back space. We want it to be Queer-focused, not Queer-only, but Queer-focused. That was our main community. It’s all about safe space.”
Research shows that casual games can do a lot for our mental health and stress relief. Not only is it a casual way to unwind, it’s been shown to reduce isolation and stress. This is good news, considering a 2018 Cigna study found nearly half of Americans report sometimes or always feeling alone, or left out. Similarly, only around half of Americans report having meaningful in-person social interactions on a daily basis.
“People’s moods in that space tend to be pretty bright, and it seems like they’re feeling pretty positive and connected,” reports Mara. “It was important to have a sober space, but it’s also really hard for people with social anxiety to sit in a bar full of people, especially on a limited income.”
While we know that Portland is more Queer-friendly than other cities, those social interactions mostly take place in bars.
“As we know, Queer socializing happens in bars and that’s what people’s experiences have been, a lot of the time. I wanted to think about different ways we could bring other spaces into that, while still making it social,” adds Kara. Both facilitators hope Queer Game Night is a place everyone feels welcome, whether they’ve been to a Quest event before or not. New situations can be challenging, which is why it’s free and open the public. Friends and family are welcome.
Quest Center for Integrative Health offers programs with the strong underlying believe that no one is meant to walk alone on their journey of wellness.
“I just love how Quest is. You can be here for 12 different things. You’re not just here for therapy. So, the community aspect of bringing people back and involving people in different things is really cool,” states Mara.
Join us for a full night of board gaming in an LGBTQ-focused space!