New counselling service provides inclusive support

A new counselling service – Pride Counselling – has been spearheaded by ACON to give LGBTQ community members more options in accessing inclusive, culturally appropriate and affordable mental health care and support.

ACON, said to be Australia’s largest sexuality and gender diverse health organisation, “is proud to offer this new service to our communities, which will further support and strengthen the health and wellbeing of LGBTQ people” according to 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,” says Mr Parkhill.

The new service is expected to link sexuality and gender diverse people directly to inclusive mental health care, which, according to Mr Parkhill, will take the burden out of dealing with service providers who may not be across the issues that are unique to LGBTQ communities.

Mr Parkhill says that when many “LGBTQ individuals access some mainstream mental health services; they can encounter roadblocks”. These roadblocks, he says, “may prevent them from getting appropriate care and support, which can lead to poor health outcomes”.

“Pride Counselling will connect members of our community to a safe and inclusive service so that they feel care for, understood and accepted,” he says.

About ACON Pride Counselling

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).

“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.

“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,” says Mr Parkhill.

“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.”

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.

For more information about Pride Counselling, visit: acon.org.au/support-services/pride-counselling/

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