Is mental health counsellor comfortable with LGBTQ?

Is mental health counsellor comfortable with LGBTQ?

Representative image.

When Mahesh Natarajan reached out to a mental health professional for counseling, he received a cold response.

“I don’t know what sort of lives you people live,” the mental health professional told Natarajan, who is gay.

Natarajan, now a counselor with InnerSight Counselling, who moderated a panel on Friday at the Inclusion Summit, shared his experience to illustrate the challenges queers and homosexuals face in getting help from professionals.

Madhumita Venkatraman, diversity and inclusion evangelist, and founder, Diversity Dialogues, shared similar experiences. “I have a disability and one of the first questions that I think about is if my counselor is comfortable with queer people,” she said.

From the perspective of Matthew Runeckles, deputy to the head of Wholesale Banking Technology and Operations in India and Romania at Societe Generale, India is years behind in some aspects of mental health access and better in some others.

“From what I’ve seen, India is far behind in talking about mental health issues at work and a lot needs to be done to take Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP) seriously,” he said. 

Lynette Nazareth, a wellness consultant and trainer, wants companies to regard crafting mental health programmes as any other service. Employers should not expect it to be provided at nominal cost and expect service providers to cut cost. Natarajan said emotional wellness programmes for employers are a little more than ticking the boxes in EAPs.

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