Dating app Hinge has announced an industry-first new fund to further help future daters from LGBTQ+ and BIPOC communities.

Launched during Mental Health Awareness Month, the Mental Health Advocates of Tomorrow fund will give ten aspiring therapists and counsellors $10,000 each to help cover the cost of their education.

The aim is to empower a group of therapists who will have a more empathetic approach with LGBTQ+ and BIPOC people looking to build healthy relationships and the unique challenges those communities face.

Research by the Trevor Project found that nearly half of transgender and non-binary youth aren’t receiving the mental health care they need due to concerns of an inadequate level of care by providers for LGBTQ+ people and the issues they may encounter.

Further data by the US Bureau of Labor shows that only one in four mental health counsellors are people of colour.

Multidisciplinary artist and mental health advocate, Fariha Róisín, is helping raise awareness of the fund. The author – whose forthcoming new book is titled Who Is Wellness For? An Examination of Wellness Culture and Who it Leaves Behind – will also help select the ten winners.

“So many marginalized folks are wrestling with trauma, shame, lack of resources, and isolation. A lot don’t even trust therapists and I can’t blame them,” says Fariha.

“These times can be really dark and overwhelming in a lot of ways and that’s why we need mental health advocates. This initiative is helping people become the light bearers, creating generational ripple effects of healing.”

What’s more, Hinge is also introducing new wellness Prompts that can be displayed on users’ profiles. Daters will now be able to react to statements such as “Therapy recently taught me,” “My self-care routine is,” and “My last journal entry was about.”

Current US students in the mental health field can apply for the fund now, here. Submissions will close on June 17, 2022. Full rules are available here.