Gay rights advocate Rob Mitchell has vowed to continue pushing national depression initiative beyondblue to take urgent action on depression rates in the GLBTI community.
Mitchell has set up a scathing website attacking beyondblue ­— ahead of Mental Health Week which starts October 4 —  labelling beyondblue the “national depression embarrassment”.
Mitchell said he would not rest until beyondblue develops a clear mental health prevention campaign for the GLBTI community after releasing a scoping study in June showing alarming levels of depression in the GLBTI community.
“They’re sitting on their hands when it comes to GLBTI mental health,” Mitchell told Southern Star.
“In same-sex attracted youth we know what causes the difference in self-harm rates compared with heterosexual youth and the difference is discrimination and homophobia and as gay men and lesbians we live with that.”
The cheekily titled website, www.sweetfa.com.au, calls on people to send emails of support to present to beyondblue and the relevant state ministers for more action on GLBTI depression and suicide rates.
On the website, Mitchell says beyondblue has successfully rolled out a campaign for post-natal depression, among other target areas, but has failed to addresses GLBTI depression rates.
He said it had been months since beyondblue released research into depression rates among GLBTI people and believes action will only be taken when the issue is made public.
“Once they got another burst from The Sunday Age [in June] there was a flurry of activity and we haven’t heard much since,” Mitchell said.
Beyondblue chief executive Leonie Young said there was misinformation about action beyondblue had taken and said the post-natal depression initiative took seven years to roll out.
“I do see a campaign [for GLBTI depression rates] in the future but beyondblue won’t be doing it on their own. There needs to be a national approach,” Young told Southern Star.
“This needs to have full support and we need to collaborate with other agencies like Headspace and Suicide Prevention Australia and the National Suicide Prevention Advisory Council.
“I have committed to following this up and we have been taking steps forward, and we will continue to be in discussions with other agencies about that.”
Young said she was disappointed to hear of the website.
“It is a democracy and people are entitled to their opinions that we’re not working fast enough, wide enough, or whatever. It just doesn’t happen overnight and I look forward to participation and collaboration,” she said.

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