Jade Mirabito: headspace Southport
Jade gives young LGBTIQAP+ people a safe place to make friends and seek help
The $10,000 Westfield Local Heroes grant has enabled Headspace to focus on three areas of need within their organisation. The first being that Jade’s working hours with the community have been able to be extended an extra day per fortnight for 12 months. Secondly, Headspace have supported community groups event attendance, group resourcing and activities. Thirdly, emergency funds for LGBTIQAP+ young people to access supplies and resources.
The increase in work hours has been the most impactful as LGBTIQAP+ young people now have access to one on one support, increased group time, and staff supported events including transport. Headspace Southport has started a parents and carers of LGBTIQAP+ young people group facilitated by Jade, and extra hours and time has allowed for further education opportunities for partnered services delivered by Jade.
Through his work as a specialist counsellor at Headspace Southport, Jade creates a safe place for people to make friends and express themselves, which is good for their mental health and well-being. An important part of his work is to sensitively ensure people are referred for appropriate follow-up care.
He also delivers engaging workshops to health professionals and actively supports Wesley Mission Queensland's Expanded Horizons Program, a youth suicide prevention service.
But Jade’s positive influence extends far beyond work hours. As a well-known face and member of the LGBT+ community, Jade is 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,” Jade says.
With his warm smile and openness to educating others, Jade is a great role model and ambassador for the community.
It makes him a perfect fit to run 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.
Jade says he is “incredibly grateful” to have been voted a Westfield Local Hero 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,” Jade says.
“I’m honoured to be just one representative using lived experience to support LGBTIQAP+ young people on the Gold Coast.”
Headspace Southport will use its $10,000 Westfield Local Heroes 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. This is especially true for LGBTIQAP+ young people, so this will help reduce isolation and have a positive impact,” says Jade.
Nominations for the 2019 Westfield Local Heroes community recognition and grants program open 19 March to 8 April. Nominate now.
If you or anyone you know would like more information on what support is available:
Q Life: 1800 184 527
Lifeline: 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467
Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800