Indy Pride hosts free counseling event in wake of Orlando shooting


INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Reaction to the Orlando nightclub shootings could be felt this week across the country, including here in central Indiana.

Thousands have come out to support the victims with vigils and blood drives.

But a local LGBT group wanted to make sure that mental health support was available locally as well.

Indy Pride hosted an event called “Indy Pride Safe Space” Wednesday night.

The goal was creating an open place for those who need to talk and connecting them with free counseling.

“I’ve also been moved by the events of Orlando,” Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Kisha Parker said.

She volunteered Wednesday night to help with Indy Pride’s safe spaces event.

“I’m anticipating a lot of people asking why,”she said, “Why did this happen? A lot of spiritual questions, why did God allow this to happen?”

Because the shootings happened at a gay nightclub, many in the local LGBT community have identified with the victims.

Many people feel it could have happened to them, especially during this time of Pride festivals across the country.

“There’s all sorts of things that can come out of that as people feel potentially threatened when it comes to safety in their own life,” she said.

Indy Pride created the safe space event to help people work through those feelings.

“I envision the conversations will center around anger, center around fear,” Indy Pride Board President, Jason Hinson-Nolen said, “What’s next, what do I do, how do I find safety again?”

Hinson-Nolen wanted to make sure people had an opportunity to move past fear.

“In order to build strength and be able to overcome fear, you have to talk through it, you have to understand it, you have to understand why you’re feeling that,” he said.

“There are people who even struggle with post traumatic stress disorder just because of something they witnessed with somebody else,” Parker said, “The event didn’t actually happen to them.”

She wants people to create a safety plan to help rebuild a sense of security.

And she said whether it’s with a professional or a friend, it’s healthy to talk about your concerns.

“I would definitely recommend not trying to wade through this on your own,” she said.

There is a vigil for the victims in Indianapolis Thursday at 2 p.m. at the Christ Church Cathedral.

A rally is taking place Saturday called Hoosiers Unite Against Hate Rally at 12:45 p.m. at the Indiana Statehouse South Lawn.

Indy Pride is hosting an event this Sunday at the Indiana Museum of Art from 2-4 p.m. called “Send Love to Orlando.”

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