NSW Government commit $500,000 to LGBTI suicide prevention

NSW Mental Health Minister Tanya Davies

The Government of New South Wales have promised new funding to strengthen suicide prevention strategies for the LGBTIQ community in the state.

$500,000 will be delivered to suicide prevention training programs and support services from the state government through The AIDS Council of New South Wales (ACON).

The states Liberal government announced the news as part of the 2016/17 Budget, as part of a larger $8 million Suicide Prevention Fund.

The Fund is designed to support non-government and community-based organisations to improve responses to suicide prevention at a local level. The Fund uses Black Dog Institute’s LifeSpan Integrated Suicide Prevention Framework as a guideline, which identifies the LGBTI community as a high risk group.

New South Wales Minister for Mental Health Tanya Davies said she recognises members of the LGBTI community are disproportionately affected by mental health issues.

“We also know that people at risk of suicide and self-harm will not always come into contact with specialised mental health professionals,” Ms Davies said.

“That is why, as a matter of priority, we need to reach out and connect with people who are at risk and need help.”

ACON have revealed that the funding will be provided over four years, and used to train GPs in LGBTI-specific care. The funding will also allow ACON to provide direct aftercare services to those identified to be at risk of self-harm, experiencing emotional distress and requiring support.

ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill said the new funding recognises the specific challenges facing the LGBTI community in relations to suicide prevention.

“LGBTI people are at elevated risk of suicide, and suicide attempts are significantly higher than the general popular,” Mr Parkhill said.

“Self-harm rates for LGBTI youth, LGBTI Indigenous Australians and the trans community are even higher.”

ACON have also highlighted that there is growing evidence that there are significant disparities in the mental health status of LGBTI people compared to the general community.

They also point to the research consensus that higher levels of depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicidal ideation can be significantly attributed to “minority stress”, brought on by experiences of fear of abuse, discrimination and exclusion. There are also concerns that “minority stress” has been heightened by ongoing anti LGBTI discourse in the media and broader society.

“The effects of discrimination, exclusion and violence on the mental health of LGBTI people are well documented,” Mr Parkhill continued.

“We also know that because of stigma and discrimination, many LGBTI people are reluctant to seek professional help.”

“This important funding will assist in addressing these issues by giving us the capacity to provide training for GPs so they can respond more effectively to the mental health needs of LGBTI people, especially those at risk of self-harm and suicide. It will also deliver a much needed boost to ACON’s ability to provide direct aftercare client services.

“These two objectives are key goals in ACON’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy, a five-year plan for addressing mental health in the LGBTI community,” Mr Parkhill says.

“We warmly welcome this funding from the NSW Government, which will enable us to not only shine a light on mental health issues in our community, and also further support the strength and resilience of LGBTI people and thereby help to increase mental health and well being.”

OIP Staff

Sources:- Media Release (ACON)

Do you need some support?

If you are struggling with anxiety or depression, support and counselling are available from:

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Beyondblue: and www.beyondblue.org.au

QLife: and www.qlife.org.au
QLife are a counselling and referral service for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) people.

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

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