Peer support group PFLAG Toowoomba is hosting a free information evening next week to benefit parents, families and supporters of LGBTIQ+ young people.
The seminar, Supporting LGBTIQ+ youth: keeping our children safe and well, will focus on youth mental health and will hear from two experienced psychologists from the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital, Olivia Donaghy and Dallas Pitt.
Psychologist Olivia Donaghy has worked in Child & Youth Mental Health (CYMHS) and private practice for a decade and is experienced in providing psychological support to families, young people and adults who are gender non-conforming and/or identify as gender diverse. She leads the Children’s Health Queensland gender service at Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital providing a state-wide paediatric hub for families of transgender young people in Queensland.
Dallas Pitt is a psychologist in the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital gender clinic and state-wide service. He has worked with children through to older adults in relationship counselling, mental health and domestic and family violence roles. He has sought to work primarily with people diverse in gender or sexuality for the past five years and has developed and run numerous transgender support groups.
The event will be free presentation for family, friends and supporters of LGBTIQ+ youth and will be held on Level 3 of the Toowoomba City Library from 7pm to 8:30pm.
A light supper will be provided, and note that as the event is after hours, the library and its carpark will be open only 15 minutes before the event begins.
PFLAG Toowoomba co-founder Diane Spearritt said the event was a great opportunity to hear from experts about how to support young LGBTIQ+ people in the region.
Spearritt and her husband started the local branch of PFLAG in 2015 to offer support to other parents and families of LGBTIQ children in their area.
“We started the group to provide a local contact, because we didn’t have anyone and there wasn’t any support group for parents at that time,” she told QNews Magazine earlier this year.
“Since we’ve started we’ve fielded calls from parents and directed them to the right places.”
She said LGBTIQ people in the region may struggle to access specialised healthcare in the region as many GPs lacked expertise.
“There’s no specialist clinic up here for transgender children. You have to travel to the Lady Cilento Childrens Hospital which can be quite tricky,” she said.
“There are some very supportive medical workers and psychologists in Toowoomba, but it can be hard for someone just coming in to find them.”
(Photo by Brisbane Pride Festival)