Qheadspace: Coming out soon!

Vikki Ryall, Head of Clinical Practice at headspace said it was youth advocates who pioneered the service and that it was fitting to launch Qheadspace in the lead up to the biggest celebration of the LGBTIQ community at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

Qheadspace is a safe place where young people who are gender and sexuality diverse can seek support from their peers through dedicated online chat and forum group sessions,” she said.

The sessions will bring together young people with lived experience from around the country and will be overseen by trained peer-support workers.

Charlie Cooper, 22, and Sara Strachan, 25, championed Qheadspace and have seen it evolve from a simple idea to a potentially, life-saving service.

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“Although we’ve come a long way in reducing discrimination in Australia, bigotry and prejudice still exist in our community and this is definitely a cause for anxiety, stress and fear for gender and sexuality diverse young people,”

Mr Cooper said Qheadspace stemmed from a desire to send a strong and public message to young people that headspace is a safe and inclusive place for them to access support if they’re questioning their gender or sexuality.

“I was working with young queer people in regional Australia and we saw a gap for a free and confidential online service that could help us talk to someone who could safely support us with any questions around our gender and sexuality,”

Ms Strachan said the Qheadspace was vital because young people need access to safe and non-judgmental information and support regarding their gender and sexuality.

On average around Australia, 18.3 per cent of young people who visit headspace centres identify as LGBTIQ, with some centres as recording figures as high as 25 per cent.

Ms Ryall said the figures provided proof that many LGBTIQ young people struggled through an integral period of development.

“Peer support has been identified as especially important for supporting young SGD people and their mental health,” she said. 

Quick facts about Qheadspace:
  • Qheadspace aims to overcome a number of barriers that currently prevent gender and sexuality diverse young people from seeking support for their mental health
  • Qheadspace serves as a complement to and not a replacement for professional/clinical support.
  • Qheadspace is an early intervention, peer support forum, rather than a crisis or clinical service
  • Peer workers are/will be appropriately trained to ensure quality information and advice is provided to young people and referrals are made when necessary.
  • The service is confidential, online and free to use
  • A person who has lived experience will be in the chat sessions and they’ll discuss their situation, history and the support available to young people
  • Look out for information on the headspace, eheadspace website and the headspace social media channels
  • The Qheadspace peer to peer support service is available for gender and sexuality diverse young people aged 12 to 25
  • The service is available to young people who have or are experiencing any of the following: exploration of sexuality and gender identity, coming out, dealing with discrimination, establishing positive relationships, wanting to talk through any issues that they may have
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For further information:
Michael Bennett
headspace Media and Communications Manager
0413 025 385 or mbennett@headspace.org.au

If you are having a tough time, visit your local headspace centre or contact eheadspace  on 1800 650 890 or www.eheadspace.org.au.