Hi Paul, thanks for chatting with us about your experience of our counselling service. First off, are you happy to share how you identify in terms of your sexuality/gender?
Sure. I identify as a gay man and use he/him pronouns.
Thank you. So how did you hear about the MindOut counselling service?
I originally found out about MindOut through a friend that had accessed their services before.
And what made you consider using the service?
I am a seasoned pro when it comes to anxiety, having lived with it since the age of 15. However, last year things got so bad to the point where I knew I was in trouble and needed help.
Did your mental health improve as a result of talking to an LGBTQ counsellor?
Most definitely, I found the outlet it gave me to speak so freely and openly about anything was liberating. It helped me have dedicated time each week to empty my head and really think things through properly. There was many a light bulb moment that helped me to reframe my thoughts.
Was having an LGBTQ counsellor important to you, and if so, why?
Having an LGBTQ counsellor was very important to me. I actually have free counselling through work but opted to pay to use MindOut’s services. It was important for me to be able to have a safe space where I could speak openly about all aspects of my life with someone who would understand the challenges the LGBTQ community face.
Was the service affordable?
The team was great and asked me a few questions about my income to understand what would be an affordable service for me.
Were you able to tell friends and family that you were having LGBTQ affirmative counselling?
100%, I’m a great advocate of speaking about mental health and I always speak openly about my own experiences in the hope it will help others to realise they are not alone and perhaps give them that nudge to do so themselves.
What would you say to someone thinking about using our counselling services?
Do it, you literally have nothing to lose.
Would you consider using other Mind Out services?
I would and I have been fortunate to undertake some of their amazing training through my workplace.
How else do you take care of your mental health?
Exercise has been a game changer for me. I’m no fan of the treadmill but I found long walks and joining up at the gym made such an amazing positive difference. I find that no matter how bad I feel even a short 20-minute session in the gym can literally reset me and leave me in a more positive place.
MindOut is all about making LGBTQ mental health a community concern. How do you #MindOutForEachOther?
By making time to listen to others. I think most of us are carrying a lot on our shoulders, particularly after the last couple of challenging years. Sometimes, just by lending a friendly, non-judgmental ear you can make more of a difference than you realise.