A three-day peer support practice workshop organised by the Social Justice department for 30 people from the transgender community got under way at Hotel Chaithram here on Wednesday.
As psychological support is critical to reduce the mental stress experienced by the community members, the department, in association with the Mumbai-based Mariwala Health Initiative, is organising a workshop for select transgender persons to equip them with the ability to intervene in the most pressing issues faced by the community.
The workshop, being attended by two transgender persons from each district and two persons from the department’s Transgender Cell, is aimed at forming a team of peer counsellors to provide mental health support against the backdrop of increasing instances of transgender suicides.
Though the transgender community has been providing support to its members in the past, the workshop aims to equips them with the ability to provide peer counselling in a scientific and methodical manner.
The sessions focus on history and values of peer support practice, peer counselling skills, suicide prevention, the way forward in development of a peer support model, ground-level challenges in the Kerala context and so on.
Arunima Sulfikar, president of the Kerala Pradesh Transgender Congress State committee, said the community faced many issues such as lack of employment despite education, harassment from the police, residential and rental hurdles, a lack of sex reassignment surgery facilities in the government sector and so on.
Only when there was an improvement on these fronts could the community members stand on their own feet and live without any discrimination. The workshop was beneficial in helping provide an orientation on how to provide peer support to overcome problems, developing necessary skills needed to provide such support, among other factors.
Minister for Social Justice R. Bindu will interact with the participants of the workshop at the valedictory on Friday evening.