WA AIDS Council launch free LGBTIQ+ counselling amidst COVID-19

The WA AIDS Council (WAAC) has waived its fees on remote counselling services, improving access to mental health services for LGBTIQ+ folks in a COVID-19 world.

WAAC has also launched an online campaign in conjuction with this initiative, targeting LGBTIQ+ people in rural WA, and raising awareness of their counselling services for people living with HIV, LGBTIQ+ people, and their friends and family.

The confidential services are also available for Western Australians seeking support and advice on relationships, gender issues, sexual health and HIV testing.

WAAC CEO Lisa Dobrin says that while many people have found it difficult to start the conversation, WAAC counselors are here to support the LGBTIQ+ community free of charge.

“The outbreak of COVID-19 has created a heightened state of anxiety for many of us, and for this reason we have decided to waiver the means-tested fees for those seeking support to more easily access our counselling services,” Dobrin said.

“The reality is that you can’t put a price on your mental health and emotional wellbeing, and by offering this service for free we are doing our best to make sure that everyone can access a safe, supportive and confidential space to share and talk about their feelings rather than go through such a challenging time alone.”

“One in five Australians will go through a time in their life when their mental health needs some extra attention, but only half of those people will take the sometimes overwhelming and difficult steps to seek professional counselling support. We want to change that, as we believe everyone should be able to live a happy, healthy and fulfilled life, whatever steps are needed to get there.”

Dobrin and WAAC have also highlighted the importance of these counselling services, with regards to increased rates of suicide among the LGBTIQ+ community.

“This tragic loss of life continues to be completely unacceptable and a national disgrace, and WAAC will never give up fighting for the rights, health and wellbeing of the people and communities it serves,” Dobrin adds.

“We all come up against things that challenge us in life and a counsellor can offer invaluable support, including practical day to day coping solutions, therapeutic interventions and professional insight.”

“Gone are the days of ‘manning up’ and getting on with it, we know that this approach is not working and our services are offered to highlight a path to addressing the root of the issue and achieving positive outcomes and life changing impacts for those who seek it.”

Sessions with WAAC counsellors last approximately 60 minutes. The counsellor and the client work together to determine how many sessions are required to achieve the best outcome. Appointments take place via phone and are offered at no charge.

WAAC’s counselling services are available 9am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday. More information is available from waaids.com

OIP Staff

Do you need some support?

If you are struggling with anxiety or depression, support and counselling are available from:

WA AIDS Council: waaids.com

Lifeline: 13 11 14 or lifeline.org.au

Beyondblue: 1300 22 4636 and www.beyondblue.org.au

QLife: 1800 184 527 and www.qlife.org.au
QLife are a counselling and referral service for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) people.

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