Based in Strathpine for over 25 years, the Men’s Information and Support Association (MISA) provides male-centric counselling and is a vital community support group for those whose future seems bleak and overwhelming. By providing engaging and compassionate services for men, MISA actively helps clients achieve personal goals and improve their life situations.
Community Bank Samford recently provided a grant allowing MISA to offer dedicated appointments at no charge to clients. These free services alleviate the sense of guilt or failure clients may feel when they cannot afford the support they need.
“For a small not-for-profit we do our best; a number of our staff volunteer, and we have to charge a co-payment for clients who can afford it. But often clients are struggling, and if you’re struggling emotionally or in the middle of a separation or losing your job, this can also have an impact on your income,” Katrina Lewry, MISA Manager said.
“Today a client walked in looking for help. He had lost work and was struggling and couldn’t afford to pay the gap payments for the mental health care plan he had. He burst into tears when I told him we could give him free sessions (we’re normalising men crying). That’s a pretty powerful display of emotion and relief,” she said.
MISA’s clients are extremely grateful for the time and energy the organisation gives them, and often try to give back when they can.
“Our clients say things like, ’this is such a valuable service,’ ‘I wish I’d known about this sooner,’ and ‘thank you, thank you, thank you.’ More importantly they leave their sessions with a smile on their face, or a little less weight on their shoulders,” Katrina said.
Clients can visit MISA a few times before they have the life tools they need. Sometimes they refer their friends and sometimes they return after a few years for a refresher session. These are all positive signs of a long standing community service.
The Community Bank Samford grant helps to ensure the small organisation can keep up with the ongoing demand of helping men focus on their strengths and find a way forward in life.
“Grants like this are an investment in community. Our clients are people going through difficult times, and reaching out for help can be a real challenge,” Katrina said.
“This grant helps reduce some of those barriers to reaching out; the easier it is to get help, the more likely people are to do it, which in turn reduces the negative run on impacts on society. Things like suicide, violence and aggression that have family and community effects,” she said.
“It’s important for us to get grants like this so we can keep our doors open more often for those clients who really need our help.”