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Annual Report 2002-2003
Counselling and support services
Gay men’s health never originally intended to run a counselling service. Way back in 1995 we had a group of volunteers who had been given some training to work with people bereaved as a result of hiv-related illnesses. Thankfully, as medications improved we found there was less and less need for this service. Meanwhile the counselling and support manager was seeing an increasing number of people who wanted to talk through other personal difficulties and who would prefer to come to a gay men’s service to do that. We started developing a counselling service using trained volunteers in order to meet this unexpected demand, and this has developed over the years to the point where we now run a professional counselling service respected throughout scotland.
We have eight counsellors working with us, all of whom have completed or are on student placement while completing a professional qualification in counselling. We are seeing more clients than ever before, dealing with a wider range of problems and providing more services.
To demonstrate the popularity and growth of our counselling services,
below is a breakdown of the number of attended sessions since 1998.
1999: 240 sessions
Our counselling services use the core-pc monitoring and evaluation system, which has been developed specifically to measure the effectiveness of psychological therapies in alleviating distress. It also helps us monitor our services and compare them to others throughout the uk.
Although we are still in the early stages of using the system, and the statistics will become more representative over time, we have to date gathered the following information about our counselling services:
Problem and % of clients experiencing
Alcohol / drug problem: 21%
This year we have started to provide couple and relationship counselling in addition to the one-to-one counselling we offer. Our counsellors were given additional training in relationships work by couple counselling scotland to prepare for this work. The service was advertised in core magazine and through small business cards we designed and distributed.
We have also been developing group-work for gay and bisexual men, and will be running a new group for gay and bisexual men later this year.
In addition, from this year we will also be able to offer some family therapy for gay and bisexual men having difficulties in their relationships with parents, children and/or partners.
We have been working with a variety of different individuals and groups to look at ways of encouraging more diversity within counselling. This has included work with a group of local representatives from agencies such as lothian centre for integrated living (who offer a peer counselling service for disabled people), saheliya (who provide counselling to black and minority ethnic women), men in mind (a mental health project for black and minority ethnic men) as well as representation on a bacp (british association for counselling and psychotherapy) working group looking at diversity and developing a way forward for the race division.
We are currently updating our website so it will have far more information about the counselling we offer, as well as photographs of our counselling team.
We worked with Lgbt Youth Scotland (formerly Stonewall Youth) to conduct a small piece of research into suicidal thoughts, feelings and behaviours amongst young gay and bisexual men in edinburgh. We received 112 completed questionnaires from a random sample of young men in the gay pubs and clubs. 98 of these responses were useable and only ten men who were approached chose not to participate in the research. The results are shocking –
A report will be written outlining the research findings, and recommendations will be made to address these issues.
Video for newly diagnosed men
In collaboration with solas, we have facilitated a project in which a group of gay and bisexual men living with hiv developed a video about living with hiv and sources of support. This video is now being given out to newly diagnosed men by gum and ward 41 hiv clinic.
For a limited time we facilitated the waverley care / solas juice group for gay and bisexual men living with hiv, working with members to develop a new way forward for the group.
Training and conferences
We have provided workshops, training and consultancy to many different organisations this year, including :
We have also participated in ongoing training for our counselling team, including :
Counselling and Support Manager
Annual Review 2002-2003
Last updated 14th July 2004
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