SPECIFIC LGBTI measures are being incorporated in the Queensland Government’s early action plan to tackle rates of mental illness within the state, with two community organisations sharing $65,000 in funding for their own initiatives.

The Queensland Mental Health Promotion, Prevention and Early Intervention Action Plan 2015-17 was unveiled last week by state Health Minister Cameron Dick, who announced that the Labor Government would provide over $450,000 in funding to improve the wellbeing of around 900,000 Queenslanders that live with mental illness.

“Maintaining positive mental health and wellbeing is important to all Queenslanders, wherever they are,” Dick said.

“Strong mental health and wellbeing enables us to cope with the everyday stresses of life, make a productive contribution to our community and achieve our full potential.

“But some mental illnesses can be prevented, and by acting early we can reduce the number of people who experience mental illness in our state.”

Emphasis placed on the significant, and for some, drastic rates of mental illness experienced by many within the LGBTI community is important component of the government’s plans, according to Queensland Mental Health Commissioner, Dr Lesley van Schoubroeck, who led the commission’s creation on the Early Action Plan.

According to an Australian Human Rights Commission report, LGBTI Australians experience rates of mental illness at around four to 14 times the rate of the heterosexual community, with the trans* community experiencing the most extreme rates.

“The commission’s MHPPEI Action Plan takes a whole-of-population based approach, as well as acknowledging the unique needs of communities that may be at higher risk of mental illness or mental health problems,” Van Schoubroeck told the Star Observer.

“It focuses on communities which are connected and inclusive. The Action Plan builds on current initiatives.

“There are existing and excellent LGBTI specialist services and programs, and the Commission has invested via our grants program in extending their reach and specialist expertise, while also balancing the need to improve service accessibility via mainstream mental health and suicide prevention services.”

The Gay and Lesbian Welfare Association and the Queensland AIDS Council are the two LGBTI organisations that will be beneficiaries of targeted funding efforts that have come out of the Government’s action plan.

“The specific needs of the LGBTI community were considered long before the Action Plan was published,” Van Schoubroeck said.

“This includes $15,000 for the Gay and Lesbian Welfare Association for Mental Health First Aid training and $50,000 for the Queensland AIDS Council towards the Better Health Transformational Self-Management project.”

“The commission’s approach includes consideration of Commonwealth investment in order to balance specialised approaches, access to mainstream services and address the needs of other vulnerable and under-serviced populations.”

For details on the Action Plan, click here 

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