The Gillard Government has today announced it will pour more than $22 million into tackling suicide in at-risk groups, including the gay, lesbian and bisexual community if re-elected.
The announcement was made as part of a $277 million package aimed at reducing suicide rates and promoting better mental health for Australians.
The Government says it will set aside $22.4 million improve community-led suicide prevention services for Indigenous people, men, and gay, lesbian and bisexual people.
There has been a mixed response so far from mental health professionals with some saying the measures do not go far enough to assist the funding-starved mental health sector.
National youth mental health organisation headspace has welcomed the announcement.
Headspace CEO Chris Tanti said if implemented the measures would be an important step forward.
“Suicide rates amongst young people in Australia have reached appalling levels — men and women aged between 15 and 24 are in the highest risk brackets when it comes to suicide,” Tanti said in a statement.
“If someone is Indigenous or same-sex-attracted the risk increases four-fold.
“We are in danger of losing a generation of young people if we don’t deal effectively with this crisis in our community.”
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), suicide is the leading cause of death for men and women aged 15 to 34 in Australia.
ABS data shows also homosexual and bisexual people have far higher levels of anxiety disorders than their heterosexual counterparts (31 percent compared with 14 percent); and more than triple the rate of depression and related disorders (19 percent compared with 6 percent).