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'Skepsi' Mental Health Project asks the Greek community to open their minds. SBS Greek's Panos Apostolou talks to Pronia’s LGBTI Project Officer and coordinator of the Program, Maria Bololia.
Last year Pronia’s LGBTI Project Officer Maria Bololia started the conversation with the Greek LGBTI community, their families and the media asking them all to open their hearts.
This year Pronia has been funded by The Department of Health and Human Services, through Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council and Tandem, to run Skepsi Mental Health Project in partnership with 'queerspace' Drummond Street Service.
The name Skepsi was chosen as it’s the Greek word for thought. As the saying goes “What you think you become”. Maria is now asking the Greek community to open their minds.
This project involves a series of 25 workshops commencing late March to be implemented across Melbourne on issues including respectful family conversations, functional relationships, identifying risk and protective factors, healthy relationship boundaries, dealing with stress and anxiety, unpacking the stigma behind ill health and building tools for resilience.
In 2017 the marriage equality ABS survey and the vilification that the NO campaign targeting the LGBTI population in particular transgender and intersex individuals increased the mental health risks and resulted in escalated needs for mental health service provision.
Despite the fact that it is now legal for same-sex couples to wed in Australia the aftermath and the damage that sending public messages of shame, blame to the LGBTI community has increased the ill mental health of the LGBTI community.
Skepsi aims to provide a forum, safe space facilitated by an LGBTI and mental health professional, with many years of experience in the sector, for the Greek community to voice their concerns, discuss cultural expectations, family pressures to be heteronormative, fears around inviting in or being open about their sexual identity and what makes for a functional, loving and supportive relationship.
For further information, you can contact Maria Bololia Tue-Thur at Pronia (03) 9388 9998 or e-mail at MariaBo@pronia.com.au.