A moderated discussion on access to mental health help was held in Bangalore
'Mental Health and the Queer Community: Contexts of Distress and Access to Affirmative Counseling', was a moderated community discussion held at the Student Christian Movement of India, Mission Road. The purpose of the event was to understand and address the mental health issues prevalent in the queer community, and to try and create an active support group for the queer community in the near future. The session was moderated by Vinay Chandran, Executive Director of Swabhava Trust, Bangalore. The event that was open to the public was organized by Swabhava, ASQ (All Sorts of Queer), Good As You, Jeeva and Queer Campus Bangalore.
Mohan Raju, clinical psychologist at MS Ramaiah Medical College and Hospitals, Umesh P founder of Jeeva, an NGO which addresses the mental health issues in the queer community, Rohini Venkatesh Malur from All Sorts of Queer, and Anurag Nair from Queer Campus Bangalore were the key speakers at the event. Each of them gave a trigger presentation after which the audience asked questions and discussions followed.
Some of the topics presented and discussed were, SRS (Sex Reassignment Surgery), hormonal treatment, self-medication, relationships in the queer community, discrimination by society. The community also faces issues with housing, and public transport. The forum also discussed inaccessibility to medical treatment, therapy, counseling, helplines and groups while talking about discrimination by doctors.
The event ended on a positive note, with a few concluding points made by Vinay Chandran in which he urged everyone to make sure they spread awareness pegging it as the only way towards acceptance, understanding, and the end of needless discrimination.