Advocates raise concern over absence of LGBTI issues from youth mental health action plan

Advocates raise concern over absence of LGBTI issues from youth mental health action plan

Advocates have raised concern over the federal government’s draft National Action Plan for the Health of Children and Young People: 2020 to 2030, which fails to mention LGBTI youth.

Health Minister Greg Hunt announced the process of establishing the action plan last year.

The Department of Health website states that workshops were held in November to consult with “organisations that represent specific and disadvantaged population groups, policy makers, and advocacy bodies.”

But LGBTI rights advocacy group Equality Australia has questioned why LGBTI young people are not mentioned in the draft action plan at all.

In a post on Facebook, Equality Australia described the omission as “awkward”, and tagged LGBTI youth community groups like Twenty10, Minus18, Ygender and Rainbow Families in the post.

The consultation draft made available on the Health Department website lists four priority populations:

  • Children and young people from rural and remote areas
  • Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander children and young people
  • Children and young people born in to poverty
  • Children and young people living with disability

But nowhere in the document, nor in the Healthy, Safe and Thriving: National Strategic Framework for Child and Youth Health the action plan is building from, is the added vulnerability of being an LGBTI young person within the priority populations mentioned.

Director of Legal Advocacy at Equality Australia Lee Carnie noted the extremely poor mental health outcomes and high rates of suicide among LGBTI youth, saying that “we need the Australian Government to include LGBTQ+ children and young people on their national action plan for health – or these stats aren’t going to change over the next 10 years.”

The draft action plan is currently available for interested parties to provide feedback on, with Twenty10 noting that they are preparing a submission.

Members of the public or are able to confidentially consult on the draft until 11:59pm on Thursday March 28.

More information about the draft action plan and details about submitting feedback on the draft can be found by clicking here.

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