I want to believe that the Thatcheresque days of ‘Me, Myself, I’ are long gone. I for one, certainly hope that today’s culture is moving towards group therapy and the amazing circle of support that family and friends provide.
It should be possible to have the trust of a few close friends and not expect to end up paying for counselling.
We all, at some point in our lives, need a degree of support. Some people have a tendency to bottle it all up. Others vent their angst at the drop of a hat. What is important, is that we accept that sometimes we do need some form of help.
For those working in the sex industry, life can be very lonely. On occasion it can plunge people into depths they didn’t even know existed. There are even individuals out there who seem to get perverted pleasure from being cruel to others. Strangely as a society, we seem to get a rush out of others misery.
I was absolutely delighted to be introduced to Pineapple Support a few years back. It was incredible to see an organisation funded by donations and supported by the Adult Industry. The sole aim being to provide FREE support for all On-Line Sex Workers.
As promised, I got together with Leya Tanit (socially distanced of course) to get a more in-depth look at the organisation and how it works.
What made you set up Pineapple Support?
“The inspiration to create Pineapple Support came during the 2018 XBIZ LA awards when I learnt of the tragic loss of lives our industry had experienced in the 3 months prior. After researching I discovered that there were many other performers who had taken their lives due to a lack of dedicated mental health resources for the adult industry. There were hundreds if not thousands more who were suffering.
The necessity for this resource and my drive and passion for supporting those in need, especially in our industry, drove me to create Pineapple Support”.
How many people do you have helping you within the organisation?
“Currently within the organization we have around 160 therapists across the US, UK, Canada, South America, Europe and Australia. We have over 450 volunteers providing care and support via our active listening text service. 8 board members, our therapy facilitator Kirsty and operations manager Kellie. For the amount of therapy requests, therapists and volunteers we have, it’s a small team, but we run a tight ship”.
Is Pineapple open to everyone or is it primarily for those working in the Adult Industry Sector?
“Pineapple Support resources are specifically for those working in the adult online entertainment industry. So persons working in porn, live cam, or with a fan site. We’d love to extend this reach and firmly believe that all persons should have access the adequate mental health resources. Unfortunately we can only do as much as our funding allows us”.
Was it difficult for you to get sponsorship and funding at the start?
“Although the industry was behind Pineapple Support from its conception, finding our first sponsor was not easy. We needed to prove ourselves before we could expect to receive funding and be granted US 501c3 status. It wasn’t easy! It was 8 months before our first sponsor came on board. Up until then the project (including all the therapy) was funded by myself. Something I am extremely grateful was possible”.
I understand you operate workshops, what kind of things do they cover?
“We run a number of different workshops, support groups, webinars and virtual retreats. The support groups and webinars tend to cover topics from Addiction & Recovery, Grief & Loss, Trauma to DBT Emotion Regulation. Each week we provide two, weekly drop-in therapy groups for performers. There is also a motivation and support group and starting very soon. This is in collaboration with The BIPOC Collective, a BIPOC performer support group.
Our Retreats can focus on anything from Happiness to Healing Through Kink and provides Breathworks, yoga and meditation workshops, to name a few. If it is mental health or well-being related, we will try to provide it”.
What kind of support do you get from the industry professionals?
“Professionals from within the industry have been extremely supportive. Many of them running donation campaigns and charity cam shows. We encourage any industry professionals who feel able, to sign up as a volunteer listener and help support their peers during emotional and isolating times.
Recently we launched Pineapples United, a membership scheme where adult industry professionals can sign up to donate monthly to Pineapple Support. Pineapples United members will then in invited to join regular meeting with Pineapple Support board members to be kept up to date with what is happening within the organization as well as have the option to join meetings and have their voices and suggestions heard”.
I want to join many others who would like to thank Leya Tanit from the bottom of my heart for such an amazing job the Pineapple team do.
How can people in need contact Pineapple?
If you are an adult industry professional and are in need of emotional support or professional therapy or counselling, please visit www.PineappleSupport.org
If you’d like to read a bit more about this subject, please see my other article here.