Greens call on state govt to ensure funding for LGBTI+ mental health

WA Greens are calling on the state government to ensure mental health and suicide prevention organisations that support the LGBTIQA+ community are adequately funded ahead of the government’s postal survey on marriage.

Mental health spokesperson Alison Xamon MLC last night told Parliament she was deeply concerned the spike in calls for mental health and suicide prevention assistance seen in Ireland during the 2015 same sex marriage referendum, could be reflected across Australia.

Xamon said it was more important than ever to ensure LGBTIQ+ peer-based counselling service Living Proud, which lost $80,000 in funding in July, received ongoing and indeed increased government support.

“I am particularly concerned that in the lead-up to this postal poll and this very public debate, now is not the time to look at any reduction in these sorts of services, particularly considering what has happened globally with demand for these services as people have become more and more distressed,” Xamon said.

“We need to keep a very close eye on the delivery of services, because these sorts of public debates have the potential to have a very detrimental impact on vulnerable people in our community – in this case, members of the LGBTIQA+ community.

“If people are feeling as though they need to access services, we need to ensure their mental health will be okay and that any risk of suicidality is able to be addressed.”

Xamon told Parliament that Lifeline Australia relied on Living Proud to refer people to once they had addressed the immediate crisis.

The MLC reminded members of the negative impact the Tasmanian debate in the 1990s about whether homosexuality should be legalised, had had on the LGBTIQA+ community there.

“Sometimes I feel as though people do not necessarily understand the impact that this postal poll will have on people,” Xamon said.

Do you need some support?

If you are struggling with anxiety or depression, support and counselling are available from:
QLife are a counselling and referral service for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) people.

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Kids Helpline is available for younger readers. Call 1800 55 1800, it’s free.

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