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PACE is London’s leading charity promoting the mental health and emotional well-being of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Since 1985 PACE services have continually developed and they are now working with lesbian and bisexual women, gay and bisexual men, trans people and those exploring their sexuality or gender identity.
They offer a range of support options that include:
- Group work provision for men
- Domestic violence support group
- Youth groups
- Counselling support
- Couples counselling
- Advocacy services
- Employment coaching
- Tailor made training for professionals
I have heard a lot about PACE over the years, and although I have had no direct involvement with them, I have been of the understanding that they do some fantastic work with and for LGBT people in London. So when I was informed that PACE were launching online services that can be accessed by anyone in the country, I was a little bit excited.
As someone who runs an LGBT support charity (www.pushprojects.moonfruit.com) I am fully aware of how challenging it can be to get projects going but also how rewarding it is when that achievement is accomplished.
The new online services that PACE has launched offer virtual support where users can make use of message boards which are broken down into various topics that provide information on mental well-being for the LGBT community. A further part of the virtual support service is the mental well-being assessment tool which enables users to monitor their own development. There are also factsheets and blog entries from service users.
With an interest in this new service in my capacity as someone who works with LGBT people and has a background in mental health, I thought I would review the service with a view to recommending it and signposting people to it when appropriate.
The PACE website itself is well designed and easy to navigate. Plenty of information is available about the services they provide and how they can be accessed. When it came to trying out the new online virtual support service, I was impressed.
The mental well-being assessment is a wonderful tool well worth using. After answering a few multiple choice questions regarding how you feel about yourself and your future, your result comes up on the screen. My mental well-being score was 63%, admittedly lower than I thought it would be. Aside from your score, the website generates some handy tips to improve your mental well-being and also signposts to external websites that can offer further advice and support. It was that part of the mental well-being assessment tool that I found the most useful and believe it’s a fantastic service for people who are in need of support but are too scared to talk to someone.
The next part of the interactive section of the website I looked at was the message boards. Typically I don’t advise going on message boards as people tend to be free to post whatever they want and it can easily descend into misguided advice or mickey taking. The good thing about the message boards on the PACE website are the fact that they are moderated and nobody can have their comment posted until it’s been viewed by a moderator. Therefore the advice and comments are all sound and well balanced. The message boards cover various topics from body image issues to coming out and being ‘the only gay in the village’.
Moving forwards, PACE will soon be introducing a HIV prevention tool and launching live 1:1 sessions with their dedicated team of trained moderators. This will further enhance the excellent service that PACE provide and can only lead to the improved mental well-being of LGBT people. So my advice is to get behind PACE, use their services and tell people you know about what they’re offering. It’s a fantastic service and I applaud them for putting the idea into action.