NSW Health has launched the LGBTIQ+ Health Strategy 2022-2027, marking a significant commitment in the history of the NSW Health system.
The Strategy, launched on Wednesday, 16 March is built on the experiences of more than 1600 LGBTIQ+ people across the state and 750 NSW Health Staff. It outlines an intersectional range of priorities, envisioning that NSW Health organisations and staff begin collectively delivering best care and working with LGBTIQ+ people to achieve optimal health and wellbeing.
The Hon Brad Hazzard MP, NSW Minister for Health said, “The resilience, vibrancy, love and pride of LGBTIQ+ people in New South Wales, has long been a characteristic of the rich fabric of our State.”
LGBTIQ+ Mental Health and Suicide Prevention
With lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer (LGBTIQ) people and others of diverse bodies, sexualities, and genders (+) being defined as a priority population for mental health and suicide prevention in Australia, the Strategy covers many health impacts, including mental health and suicide prevention, and reports that:
- A quarter of LGBT people in NSW had experienced suicidal thoughts at some point in their lives.
- 57% of LGBTIQ+ people experience high or very high levels of psychological distress, compared to 13% in the general population.
The Strategy prioritises the delivery of high quality, safe, inclusive and responsive mental health care and suicide prevention (priority 1.3). The aim is to increase access to mental health and suicide prevention services and support across LGBTIQ+ people’s lifespan.
Two milestones that are expected to be achieved before December 2023 are:
- That NSW Health and funded non-government organisation mental health services will receive training in LGBTIQ+ awareness and capability, co-design and working with the peer workforce.
- A targeted plan will be developed to increase access to mental health and suicide prevention services, improve wellbeing, address stigma and reduce psychological distress.
LGBTIQ+ Suicide Prevention Case Study
The NSW LGBTIQ+ Health Strategy includes a case study for community-based suicide prevention for LGBTIQ+ people, highlighting the Towards Zero Suicides Community Gatekeeper Training. The NSW Ministry of Health has engaged Twenty10 to work with LGBTIQ+ communities. Twenty10’s Community Connector Training is a peer-based suicide prevention program. The impacts of this training will be assessed by NSW Health in the broader evaluation of the Towards Zero Suicides initiatives.