Kings Wellness and Counselling in Charlottetown has started offering free counselling sessions to members of the LGBT community.
"I've seen people over the years in lots of pain. I've seen people over the years filled with fear," said owner Barry King. "This is something we can do to help people feel more supported and at the same time come to accept themselves."
'So much need'
The idea to offer free sessions came from employee Alex Beattie, who is also the chair of Pride PEI. He said being able to access counselling in the past was really helpful for him.
"I know I had big issues in dealing with who I was for a long time and had a good support system behind me," said Beattie.
At a recent Pride conference in Halifax, Beattie said many speakers spoke about difficult experiences they had been through.
"A lot of people I spoke to at the conference were the same thing, and I just, and I knew myself what I'd been through, and I just could see so much need for people to have a support system and someone to talk to and help them through it," said Beattie.
He thought offering free sessions would encourage more people to seek help if they need it.
"I just think we're all so quick when we have a pain physically to go to the doctor and get help for that. But whenever it's something on the inside or it's feelings or it's emotions, or trauma, or whatever it be, we don't tend to reach out to heal that, the same as we would it it was an outside wound," said Beattie.
King said he has worked with many members of the LGBT community over the years, and he has been a long time supporter of the community, but he knows not everyone is able to access counselling services.
"Money is a barrier for people," said King. "Even though we run a business and that's the nature of a business, is you want to generate a little bit of resources, it's never why we've done the business. We've always done what we do to be supportive of people who are in need."
Participants self-identify as being LGBT to access the free sessions.
King said 15 sessions have been set aside each month, for the next three months. After that, staff will reevaluate, and discuss if they will continue the offer.
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