Helder Almeida

Help on hand for sufferers of homophobic behaviour

SUPPORTING young gays and lesbians is the key to tackling the effects of homophobic behaviour, a Warwick mental health professional says.

Headspace Warwick case manager Kara Ekberg said a strong support network was the best way to protect same-sex attracted youths from the devastating mental health effects of homophobia.

"If a young person can get the support of their family they'll find it easier to cope," she said.

"The most difficult area is the home environment - whether or not your family will support you.

"You need to make sure they have a support system in place if you can when coming out."

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In her time working with the LGBT support group at headspace, Ms Ekberg has heard plenty of heartbreaking stories about young people whose family and friends didn't accept their sexuality.

"I have had some people who say when they did come out people were really supportive," she said.

"Then there are others who have come across a homophobic backlash - it all depends on individual experience."

Stories of domestic violence, both physical and emotional, were also part of issues facing young gays and lesbians in the group.

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Unfortunately, the support group has gone very quiet in recent months and the headspace team are eager to get it back up and running.

"The struggle is our age cut-off is 25 and it excludes a lot of people from the group," Ms Ekberg said.

"Nobody knows the group is going on - we're putting the feelers out there again."

For more information or to get involved with the LGBT support group, phone the headspace Warwick office on 46611999.



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