The Baillieu Government has today announced the recipients of a $4 million funding grant promised to tackle suicide and self harm among LGBTI youth.

Seven community organisations from around the state will receive funding, including the WayOut Project, Safe Schools Coalition Victoria (SSCV), the Rainbow Network, Minus18, the Zoe Belle Gender Centre, Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria (GLHV) and the Youth Affairs Council of Victoria.

Mental Health Minister Mary Wooldridge said the funding aims to support LGBTI youth in both regional and metropolitan areas and help boost existing services currently dealing with the issues.

“The funding will support new initiatives, as well as enhance ongoing, well-evaluated programs that have a track record of working with GLBTI young people,” Wooldridge said.

”Research suggests that GLBTI young people can be at higher risk of anxiety, depression, self harm and drug and alcohol misuse, as a result of discrimination and abuse.

“As a result, suicide attempt and self-harm rates among GLBTI communities are significantly higher than among non-GLBTI populations.”

The WayOut Project, working in rural Victoria, will receive $1.48 million, SSCV will receive $416,000, Minus18 will be given a boost of $146,000, Rainbow Network will receive $348,000, Zoe Belle Gender Centre will receive $146,000, and GLHV and the Youth Affairs Council has been allocated $440,000.

As part of the funding, $220,000 will be set aside to evaluate the impacts of the initiative.

A further $762,000 will also be allocated to support grassroots LGBTI youth programs run in local communities. The funding will be coordinated by the Youth Affairs Council of Victoria and a number of small grant rounds will be available over the next three years.

“The GLBTI sector has been an active partner in the development of this framework and I look forward to working with them to improve mental health outcomes for GLBTI young people,” Wooldridge said.

Prahan MP Clem Newton-Brown will appear on Melbourne LGBTI radio station JOY94.9 at noon to discuss the announcement.

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