living-depression-mental-healthAs World Suicide Prevention Day was marked across the globe on Tuesday, September 10, the National LGBTI Health Alliance has come together with 25 other organisations, including Suicide Prevention Australia, to launch a national campaign calling for the introduction of a National LGBTI Suicide Prevention Strategy to halve suicides in the country by 2023.

On average, 44 Australians take their lives each week, with research showing LGBTI people have the highest suicide rates of any population in Australia. Same-gender attracted, transgender and intersex Australians have up to 14 times higher rates of suicide attempts than their heterosexual or cisgender peers. It is believed that five out of every six suicides are male.

“The time has come for a serious commitment to a National LGBTI Suicide Prevention Strategy. A targeted strategy will significantly contribute towards halving suicides by 2023 by providing LGBTI people with the same rights and services that other Australians enjoy,” Alliance executive director Warren Talbot said.

The Alliance will also be supporting  a world first self-help program called “Healthy Thinking” developed by researchers at the Black Dog Institute and the Australian National University. Talbot said the program will empower people to take charge of unhelpful thoughts and learn ways to manage them on an ongoing basis.

“Unless services signal overtly that they are LGBTI friendly people are often reluctant to access services,” he said. “Young LGBTI people in particular are unlikely to access face-to-face services but may be comfortable in an on-line environment.”

Along with the Alliance’s campaign, national mental health organisation Beyondblue this week announced it will begin to provide male-dominated workplaces with free or heavily-subsidised training sessions to improve the mental health of workers across Australia. Small and medium-sized workplaces, not-for-profits, unions and businesses in construction, mining, manufacturing and transport are eligible to take part in the programs, Beyondblue CEO Kate Carnell said.

“It is estimated that depression alone causes 6 million lost working days and 12 million days of reduced productivity each year and also costs Australian businesses $12 billion annually in lost productivity and staff turnover,” she said.

“Having a mentally healthy workplace boosts productivity because staff take fewer sick days, are more engaged and stay in their jobs longer.”

INFO: If you or someone you know may be at risk of suicide contact LifeLine Australia on 13 11 14.

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