Around a quarter of LGBTQI people in NSW have had suicidal thoughts at some point in their lives. And, 57% of LGBTQI people experienced high or very high levels of distress, compared to 13% in the general population.
In a first for the state, the NSW government has launched a new statewide LGBTQI suicide prevention service run by ACON. The service that will allow LGBTQI people aged 18 and over in NSW to access “personalized support from a service dedicated to suicide prevention.
Free and confidential service
The service is free, does not require a referral and is said to be a mix of “face-to-face rescue and virtual care”. One of the important elements of the service is the peer-to-peer support,”where staff draw on lived experience in their role as mentors and advocates.
ACON, received $1,055,000 from the 2020-24 Suicide Prevention Fund to provide statewide 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 and even abuse,” Mental Health Minister Bronnie Taylor said in a statement. communicated.
“These experiences can have a huge impact on people. Residents of some of these communities are 13 times more likely to have attempted suicide in the past 12 months than the general population. ACON will work with at-risk individuals to identify and manage the issues that trigger their suicidal thoughts and behaviors. The team will also connect them with social, financial, legal and community services to provide a tailored support network,” Taylor said.
Holistic care for six months
Funds for the service to provide holistic care for up to six months have been allocated under the NSW Government, minister says Investing $87 million over three years in suicide prevention initiatives.
“Many people from LGBTQ+ communities are reluctant to seek professional help due to past experiences of stigma or ignorance in some healthcare settings,” said Geneviève Whitlam, associate director of clinical and client services at ACON, in a statement.
“We want to give hope to these people. Hope for recovery, hope for a better future, and hope for a life defined by inclusion, pride, and love. We can also help other service providers more effectively meet the unique mental health needs of people who identify as LGBTQ+,” added Whitlam.
For more information and to access care, visit 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 live chat.