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Where you SHOULD go to get help with coming out or advice on sexuality

Coming to terms with your sexuality can be daunting – but there are many services offering professional help and guidance for those finding it difficult.

After an ECHO investigation uncovered a Liverpool church offering a therapy that could “cure” gay people and rid them of their homosexuality, LGBTQ charities spoke out against the practice – which they branded “dangerous” and “extremely concerning”.

However there are many organisations out there which can provide genuine professional guidance for people questioning their sexuality or struggling to come to terms with it.

With the aim of helping people find the proper help, should they feel they need it, we’ve rounded up a number of contact details for LGBT organisations who offer help and advice – whether that’s by phone, e-mail, or face-to-face.

Liverpool Armistead LGBT Support

Spot yourself in the crowd at Liverpool Pride Family Fun Day Festival at St George's Hall Plateau and St John's Gardens.
The crowd at Liverpool Pride Family Fun Day Festival at St George’s Hall Plateau and St John’s Gardens.
(Image: Liverpool Echo)

Armistead deliver a social care and sexual health promotion service which they say “takes a holistic and evidence-based approach to the diverse needs of clients.”

Their services include support groups, sexual health clinics, rapid HIV testing, and online support groups where people can talk via Twitter or Facebook.

You can see a full list of their services here

Contact details

The Armisetad Centre

The Beat

Hanover Street

Liverpool, L1 4AF

Helpline: 0151 247 6560

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ArmisteadCentre/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/armisteadcentre

LGBT Foundation

We’ve been out spotting the brightest outfits at this year‘s Liverpool Pride

The LGBT Foundation offer “affirmative support and advice for anyone who is struggling with sexual orientation and/or their gender identity.”

Services include sexual health advice, counselling, courses and workshops and advice to professionals dealing with LGBT issues.

You can see a full list of their services here

Contact details

Advice and support line: 03453 30 30 30

Website: http://lgbt.foundation/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheLGF/

Mind Out – LGBTQ mental health service

Gareth Williams at Liverpool Pride 2017

MindOut is an LGBTQ mental health service which offers support groups, mentoring projects and online support via an web-based chat system.

Contact details

Helpline: 01273 234 839

Website: https://www.mindout.org.uk

Stonewall

Stonewall is an LGBT rights charity, it is mostly known as a lobbying organisation to develop policies for lesbian, gay and bisexual people.

However they also offer help and support to people – including advice on coming out as a young person, coming out as an adult, and advice for parents if your children come out.

Contact details

National helpline: 08000 50 20 20

Website: http://www.stonewall.org.uk/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stonewalluk/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/stonewalluk

The Albert Kennedy Trust

(Image: Liverpool Echo)

The Albert Kennedy Trust supports LGBT 16-25 year olds who are made homeless or living in a hostile environment.

Contact details

Northern office (Manchester based): 0161 228 3308

Website: http://www.akt.org.uk/

Why should I go to these organisations and not someone who says they can ‘cure’ me?

(Image: Liverpool Echo)

Doctors and LGBT campaigners have described MFM’s therapy as “dangerous” and “extremely concerning”.

They say that while the fasting element could be physically dangerous, the impact it can have on mental health is also profound.

Dr Louise Theodosiou, consultant psychiatrist from the Royal College of Psychiatrists, told the ECHO the fasting element of the therapy poses “huge” risks to physical health, and could impact on the brain function of those undergoing the treatment.

She said: “If a person doesn’t eat for 24 hours, while that wouldn’t lead to a significant deterioration in your brain function, you certainly wouldn’t be functioning at your normal rate of mental agility or acuity. It would be dangerous, for example, for them to drive.

“I think it’s extremely concerning to be told to fast for three days. I don’t think it would be advisable for anybody to not have water for three days.

“You can imagine a person would be extremely thirsty after that length of time so there may be a situation where you exacerbate underlying health conditions and then overload your fluids in your desperation to relieve your thirst.”

(Image: Liverpool Echo)

Rossella Nicosia, mental health lead at LGBT Foundation, said: “Nobody should be told that their sexual orientation is a mental health disorder and consequently be offered treatments in order to ‘cure’ their identity.

“Although some people may struggle to accept their own sexual orientation and/or trans status, there is evidence to suggest that treatments such as the ones described in your report could be extremely harmful to the individual.

“Offering to change a person’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity would reinforce the notion that these feelings are wrong or unnatural. This perpetuates the mistaken belief that being LGBT is a disorder needing treatment.

“Alongside other groups, we will continue to call for the government to condemn such practices and take further steps to ensure they are unavailable.

“It’s also important to remember that LGBT Foundation and other organisations are on hand to offer LGBT affirmative support and advice for anyone who is struggling with sexual orientation and/or their gender identity”.

(Image: Liverpool Echo)

LGBT charity Stonewall – who pioneered the famous ‘some people are gay, get over it,’ campaign – condemned the church’s actions.

A spokesperson for the organisation said: “Stonewall condemns all forms of conversion therapy in any setting, as do all major counselling, psychotherapy and health bodies, and the Government.

“‘Conversion therapies are deeply unethical, potentially harmful and based on the false premise that being LGBT is a mental disorder to be ‘cured’.

“Stonewall would encourage anyone who has experienced conversion therapy to reach out for help and support.”

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