Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (SGLMG) announced on Friday that national depression initiative beyondblue will be an official supporter for Sydney Mardi Gras 2013.

SGLMG would not reveal the amount of funding being provided by beyondblue, saying it did not disclose the specific financial or business arrangements of  its partnerships as a matter of policy.

However, beyondblue CEO Kate Carnell told the Star Observer it was not a substantial figure.

“It’s not huge. It’s under $100,000,” she said.

Carnell also contradicted a claim by Mardi Gras that the sponsorship was a “multi-year partnership”.

“This is just for one year, it’s just a one off, I mean obviously we’ll have we will have a think about it again depending on the outcome I suppose, like we do with all the sponsorships,” she said.

The sponsorship is part of a public relations offensive undertaken by beyondblue this year following claims it was ignoring LGBTI mental health and controversial comments by its chairman, Jeff Kennett.

One year ago, Kennett came under fire for saying he believed heterosexual marriages were “better for the mental health of children”. It led to calls for a boycott of men’s health charity fundraiser Movember, to which beyondblue is affiliated.

In March this year, Kennett appeared to backflip on the comments, saying he was now in favour of gay marriage.

Beyondblue, together with Movember, has contributed $1.5 million to a new anti-discrimination and stigma-reduction campaign which includes cinema ads, TV, print and outdoor ads, and personal video stories from LGBTI people who have experienced depression and anxiety as a result of discrimination.

The ‘Lefthanded’ campaign is aimed at increasing awareness of the direct link between discrimination and depression and anxiety, particularly for LGBTQI people.

“Mardi Gras is a great way to reach this audience as it is the most significant national LGBTQI festival in Australia,” Carnell said.

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras co-chair Siri Kommedahl said the organisation was delighted to welcome beyondblue as an official supporter.

“We look forward to working hand in hand with beyondblue to spread the message of acceptance and understanding,” she said.

INFO: beyondblue.org.au or lefthand.org.au

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