Geelong and Shepparton have been singled out as recipients of a Victorian government grant to roll out suicide prevention projects for same-sex attracted and gender questioning youth.

The Geelong Adolescent Sexuality Project (GASP) and Shepparton Uniting Care’s Cutting Edge program will each receive $215,000 annually for four years to role out the initiatives.

“A national survey of [same-sex attracted] young people showed that more than half had been verbally or physically abused because of their sexuality, and the majority of respondents felt unsafe in many different environments, including school, at home and in the community,” Victoria’s Mental Health Minister Lisa Neville said.

Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria will get $320,000 to train staff from youth and health agencies across Victoria to better deal with young people struggling with their sexuality.

The funding is part of a four-year Brumby Government $3.6 million commitment to combat alarming levels of youth suicide in same-sex attracted teens and Indigenous youth.

The Department of Sport’s Governance and Inclusion Project community member and GLBTI mental health advocate Rob Mitchell said he was “profoundly disappointed” the funding would only target two regional areas.

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