LGBTIQ+ Health Australia (LHA) recently launched the Beyond Urgent: National LGBTIQ+ Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Strategy 2021-26 in response to the need for urgent action on mental health and suicide prevention for LGBTIQ+ communities.
This is the second National LGBTIQ+ Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Strategy LHA has produced. It has been undertaken in the context of significant national policy development for mental health and suicide prevention, including the Productivity Commission inquiry and the work of the Prime Minister's National Suicide Prevention Adviser; and provides a roadmap for the next five years.
A disproportionate number of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer people and other sexuality and gender diverse (LGBTIQ+) people experience poorer mental health outcomes which directly relate to stigma, prejudice, discrimination and abuse.
A statistical snapshot includes the following surrounding mental health, suicide and self-harm of LGBTIQ+ people in Australia:
- LGBTIQ+ people are nearly six times more likely to experience and be diagnosed with depression
- LGBTIQ+ young people aged 16 to 27 are five times more likely to have attempted suicide
- LGBTIQ+ young people are over four times as likely to engage in self-injury.
The strategy sets out the following four goals:
- Goal 1 - Preventive action and early intervention
- Goal 2- Increased access to safe and inclusive mental health care
- Goal 3 - Empowerment to improve wellbeing for LGBTIQ+ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
- Goal 4 – Reform to data, research, funding and governance to deliver effective, community-led responses to LGBTIQ+ mental health and suicidality.
Each strategic goal identifies priority areas, actions and stakeholders responsible in leadership and partnership.
The strategic principles which underpin the four goals are self-determination for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, data and evidence, intersectionality, access, lived experience, social inclusion, human rights and across the lifespan.
LHA explains that the strategy is a call-to-action, highlighting that meaningful improvements require action by all governments across Australia, partnerships between all parts of the health sector, and effort across multiple other sectors including education, employment, social services, housing and justice.
“This Strategy recognises that meaningful improvements require action by all governments across Australia, partnerships between all parts of the health sector, and effort across multiple other sectors including education, employment, social services, housing and justice."