Gold Coast counsellor Jade Mirabito has been awarded a $10,000 grant through the Westfield Local Heroes program to allow mental health organisation headspace to support more young LGBTIQ people on the Gold Coast.
The Westfield Local Heroes program recognises individuals whose work promotes social well-being and harmony across family, youth opportunity and inclusion. The program was launched in April and winners announced on Monday, voted for by the local community.
Jade works as a specialist counsellor at headspace Southport, helping to create a safe place for young lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex, queer/questioning, asexual and pansexual people to socialise and express themselves and improve their mental health and wellbeing.
He also delivers workshops to health professionals and supports Wesley Mission Queensland’s Expanded Horizons Program, a youth suicide prevention service.
Jade also runs the Gold Coast LGBTIQAP+ Mental Health Professionals network, which brings together services from across the region to network and share ideas for working with the local community.
The counsellor said he’s “incredibly grateful” to have been voted one of Westfield’s Local Heroes by the Gold Coast community.
“I hear so many disheartening stories about how society treats LGBTIQAP+ people, so this support is so validating and inspires hope for positive change,” he said.
“I’m honoured to be just one representative using lived experience to support LGBTIQAP+ young people on the Gold Coast.”
Jade is a well-known face and member of the queer community, and he said he’s often stopped on the street to share personal stories and advice.
“Possibly due to being quite a visible person with my loud colours and rebellious beard, I get asked lots of questions — often quite personal — that I’m sometimes able to turn into teachable moments,” he said.
Headspace Southport will use the $10,000 grant to provide extra support for at-risk young people, giving them the opportunity to attend community events.
“For young people, it can be hard to find spaces to exist that are safe and affordable,” Jade said.
“This is especially true for LGBTIQAP+ young people, so this will help reduce isolation and have a positive impact.”
To find out more about headspace, visit the website.
(Photo courtesy of Westfield Local Heroes)