A new counselling service spearheaded by ACON, Australia’s largest sexuality and gender diverse health organisation, will give LGBTQ community members more options in accessing inclusive and culturally appropriate mental health care and support. Pride Counselling provides counselling support to LGBTQ community members seeking an affordable service.
“ACON is proud to offer this new service to our communities, which will further support and strengthen the health and wellbeing of LGBTQ people,” said ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill. “Pride Counselling will provide clients with the inclusive, community-level understanding that they need to help support, nurture and strengthen their overall mental health.”
Parkhill said the new service will link sexuality and gender diverse people directly to inclusive mental health care, taking the burden out of dealing with service providers who may not across issues unique to LGBTQ communities.
“We know that when LGBTQ individuals access some mainstream mental health services, they can encounter roadblocks that may prevent them from getting appropriate care and support, which can lead to poor health outcomes,” said Parkhill. “Pride Counselling will connect members of our community to a safe and inclusive service so that they feel cared for, understood, and accepted.”
Pride Counselling provides support and assistance on a range of issues including coming out, identity, gender, sexuality, and relationships, as well as dealing with depression, anxiety, stress, grief and loss. Counsellors can also assist on issues relating to the workplace, trauma and addiction. Support can be accessed in person through ACON offices in Surry Hills, Newcastle or Lismore, and also via telehealth (phone or video).
“LGBTQ people want to go to health professionals who understand our needs and the issues we may experience. Our Pride Counselling team is from our communities, speak our language, and know exactly what LGBTQ are going through,” said Parkhill.
ACON Pride Counselling is a social enterprise offering where clients agree to pay a fee per session. As Pride Counselling staff are Medicare-eligible clinicians, people referred to the service with a Mental Health Care Plan are eligible for a Medicare rebate. Pride Counselling is also accessible via Employee Assistance Programs.
“One of the great parts of Pride Counselling is that, as a social enterprise, all income generated from fees are re-invested back into ACON’s programs,” said Parkhill. “This will assist those community members that may be experiencing financial hardship to access the service, as well as provide support to ACON’s other self-funded mental health programs.”
“ACON has a long and proud history of supporting and strengthening LGBTQ mental health. Our purpose at ACON is to create opportunities for people in our communities to live their healthiest lives – and we aim to do just that with Pride Counselling.”
For more information about Pride Counselling, visit: www.acon.org.au for details.