Wear It Purple Day is a national day to raise awareness about and celebrate the diversity of young people in the LGBTQIA+ community.
“Social exclusion, discrimination, and feelings of isolation increase the likelihood of young people experiencing mental ill-health – regardless of their identity,” says headspace National Clinical Advisor Rupert Saunders. headspace is the National Youth Mental Health Foundation providing early intervention mental health services to 12-25-year-olds.
According to headspace, its research has shown that “LGBTQIA+ young people are twice as likely as their heterosexual and cisgender peers to report high or very high levels of psychological distress.”
“We also know they are less likely to reach out to family or health professionals for support when they face problems. That’s why it’s vital we work towards making society a place that’s respectful and welcoming to all, especially to queer young people,” says Sanders.
Here are four easy ways that headspace recommends to ensure LGBTQIA+ young people in your life feel safe and loved:
Get informed – It can be helpful to learn about the experiences of LGBTQIA+ young people and how best to openly support your young person. This shows young people that you care and want to be there for them, as well as reduces the need for them to feel like they have explain everything themselves. Be curious and not afraid to admit what you don’t know.
Communicate – Open up a channel of communication. Listen to what your young person has to say. Ask them about their feelings and experiences without judgement and confrontation. Be patient, and show that you love, trust and respect them.
Speak up – Show your support by calling out inappropriate comments or behaviours, and challenge counterproductive narratives when possible. Advocate for the LGBTIQA+ community by starting discussions with other people, participating in events and supporting legislation.
Look for signs of mental distress – If it seems as though your young person is struggling with their identity or being bullied, trust your instincts and seek help. Signs might include changes in mood, sleep patterns, appetite, or other worrisome behaviours.
Here’s where you can reach out for support:
- Visit your local headspace centre.
- Phone and online counselling service eheadspace is available seven days a week between 9am–1am (AEST). The number is 1800 650 890.
- Lifeline (13 11 14) and Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800) are available to talk 24/7.
- For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.
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