The New South Wales Government has announced $500,000 in new funding to support suicide prevention programs and support services in Sydney’s LGBTI community.
The NSW Government has established a Suicide Prevention Fund of $8 million over four years as part of the state’s 2016/17 Budget, which aims to support non-government and community-based organisations to improve their responses to suicide prevention locally.
The funding will be provided to NSW LGBTI health organisation ACON over four years and will be used to train GPs on how to respond to the needs of LGBTI people at risk of suicide.
It will also enable ACON to provide direct aftercare services for those identified to be at risk of self-harm, experiencing emotional distress and requiring support.
ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill (pictured, left)said the new funding recognises the specific challenges facing the LGBTI community in relation to suicide prevention, with the LGBTI community disproportionately affected by mental health issues.
“LGBTI people are at elevated risk of suicide, and suicide attempts are significantly higher than the general population,” Mr Parkhill said.
“Self-harm rates for LGBTI youth, LGBTI Indigenous Australians and the trans community are even higher.”
NSW Mental Health Minister Tanya Davies (pictured, second from left) said LGBTI people at risk of suicide and self-harm will not always come into contact with specialised mental health professionals.
“That’s why, as a matter of priority, we need to reach out and connect with people who are at risk and need help,” she said.
Researchers have found higher levels of depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicide seen amongst LGBTI populations are brought on by experiences or fears of abuse, discrimination and exclusion, and heightened by ongoing anti-LGBTI discourse in the media and in broader society
“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,” Mr Parkhill said.
If you need someone to talk to, help is available. Call QLife on 1800 184 527 or online at QLife.org.au, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, Lifeline on 13 11 14, or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.
(Photo by ACON)