Mind Australia welcomes the Victorian government’s commitment to fund additional assistance to the trans and gender diverse community seeking mental health support.
Mind is one of eight organisations that will help meet the additional demand of LGBTIQ+ support services in the wake of appalling public anti-trans events and commentary, under a $900k funding commitment by the Victorian government.
This funding will help Mind deliver its Aftercare program – a suicide prevention support service specifically for the LGBTIQ+ community.
Aftercare has had a month’s worth of referrals in two days and an increase in anecdotal reports of higher levels of distress and thoughts of suicide from within the LGBTIQ+ community in the aftermath of the highly publicised anti-trans rally on the steps of Victoria’s Parliament House, which brought together anti-trans activists, a politician and a group of Australian Nazis.
This situation demonstrates yet again the very real mental health impacts of the ongoing fringe campaign targeting trans people and the broader LGBTIQ+ community.
Katie Larsen – Mind's Senior Manager Inclusion and Participation- said the additional funding would help expand service delivery of Aftercare to help meet the increase in referrals.
“Mind’s Aftercare service is provided by an LGBTIQA+ team consisting of mental health peer support workers, counsellors and psychologists who understand the issues faced by the community based on their own lived experience of thoughts of suicide,” Katie Larsen said.
“We know that there is a direct and immediate link to psychological distress and suicidality from these public discussions, particularly among young people, so this funding will help us provide extra resources and support to the trans and gender diverse community at this difficult time.
“Mind Australia is proud to deliver the Aftercare program, which provides life affirming supports for LGBTIQA+ people who are having thoughts or intentions of suicide. It’s safe, community-centred care that supports people in their decision to keep living.”
Mind CEO Gill Callister said research demonstrates that LGBTIQ+ people are at increased risk of a range of mental health problems including depression, anxiety disorders, self-harm and suicide as a result of the discrimination and abuse they experience because of their sexuality and gender.
“We were horrified to see the events that have unfolded across the country recently. Events which have platformed dangerous, ignorant and bigoted views and resulted in the resurgence of violence and discrimination towards trans and gender diverse people.
“The continued virulent and discriminatory public commentary about the rights of trans and gender diverse people has real and immediate impacts on people’s mental health and safety.
“Mind Australia stands with trans and gender diverse people and communities, and we welcome the Victorian government’s investment in supporting the mental health needs of the LGBTIQ+ community at this time.
“Trans rights are not up for debate – they are human rights. The upholding of human rights is vital for a healthy, well and connected community.”
Victorian Minister for Equality Harriet Shing said anti-trans commentary only further exacerbated the everyday discrimination that trans people experience.
“Trans people routinely endure abuse, violence, and discrimination in the name of free speech, and the past week has caused further trauma for an already vulnerable group,” Ms Shing said.
“Trans people deserve better, and this funding will help organisations to provide crucial support, safety, and care.”
For more information about Aftercare email [email protected] or phone: 1300 286 463. Please note: this phone number is staffed during business hours.
If this article raises concerns for you, please call Qlife on 1800 184 527), Lifeline on 13 11 14 or contact Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467. Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islanders can also call 13 YARN (13 92 76) a 24/7 national crisis support telephone service staffed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.