Around a quarter of LGBTQI people in NSW have experienced suicidal thoughts at some point in their lives. And, 57% of LGBTQI people have experienced high or very high levels of distress, as opposed to 13% in the general population.
In a first for the state, NSW government has launched a new state-wide LGBTQI suicide prevention service run by ACON. The service that will allow LGBTQI people 18 years and older across NSW to access “tailored support from a dedicated suicide prevention service.”
Free, Confidential Service
The service is free, does not need a referral and would be a mix of “face-to-face outreach and virtual care”. One of the important components of the service is peer-to-peer support, “where staff draw on lived experience in their roles as mentors and advocates.”
ACON, was awarded $1,055,000 from the 2020-24 Suicide Prevention Fund to provide state-wide aftercare to the LGBTQI community, and will run the service from its offices in Sydney and Newcastle.
“Tragically, too many members of the LGBTQ+ community struggle with feelings of loneliness, shame or disconnection due to experiences of prejudice, even abuse,” Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor said in a statement.
“These experiences can impact people greatly. People in some of these communities are 13 times more likely to have attempted suicide in the last 12 months compared to the general population. ACON will work with at-risk individuals to identify and manage issues that are triggering their suicidal thinking and behaviour. The team will also connect them to social, financial, legal and community services to provide a tailored support network,” said Taylor.
Holistic Care For Six Months
According to the Minister, funds for the the service looks at providing holistic care for up to six months were allocated under the NSW government’s $87 million investment over three years in suicide prevention initiatives.
“Many people from LGBTQ+ communities are reluctant to seek professional help because of past experiences of stigma or ignorance within some healthcare settings,” said ACON Associate Director of Clinical and Client Services Genevieve Whitlam in a statement.
“We want to provide those people with hope. Hope for recovery, hope for a better future and hope for a life defined by inclusion, pride and love. We can also support other service providers to respond more effectively to the unique mental health needs of people who identify as LGBTQ+,”added Whitlam.
For more information and to access care, check the ACON Website.
For 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14
For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.
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