Today is World Suicide Prevention Day, and the National LGBTI Health Alliance is hoping to use the opportunity to raise awareness about the mental health needs of LGBTQI people – and to reiterate calls for an LGBTQI question in the 2021 Census.
The Health Alliance noted that suicide is a prominent community concern in Australia with the ABS reporting 3,128 deaths by suicide in 2017.
Globally, it is responsible for over 800,000 deaths, but the Health Alliance says more data is needed on the issue for LGBTQI people and communities.
“This morning I had the honour of attending Suicide Prevention Australia and the Parliamentary Friends of Suicide Prevention, World Suicide Prevention Day Breakfast at Parliament House,” National LGBTI Health Alliance executive director Nicky Bath said, earlier today.
“It was wonderful to see strong support from all sides of politics for suicide prevention. We were asked to shine a light on suicide prevention each and every day and I am asking that when we do this, that we ensure that we acknowledge LGBTI communities who are too often left in the dark.”
Bath noted that LGBTQI people experience a higher risk of suicidal behaviours compared to non-LGBTI people.
“This can be attributed to the impact of Minority Stress – the chronic stressors that LGBTI people are uniquely exposed to including experiences of discrimination, social exclusion, harassment and physical violence,” Bath said.
“Everyone has a role to play in preventing suicide and it is important to recognise that government policy such as the Religious Discrimination Bill that is currently being considered is not conducive to the government’s zero suicides target.”
“We still do not know how many LGBTI people die by suicide. This is due to LGBTI indicators not being captured in coroner report data.”
“The inclusion of sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex questions in national population research, specifically the 2021 Census, and at the health and social service utilisation level is vital if we are to tackle the ongoing significant health disparities among LGBTI people and communities,.”
World Suicide Prevention Day is organised by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP).
If you are experiencing distress and would like to talk with someone on the phone or over the web, then please call QLife on 1800 184 527 or go to www.qlife.org.au
You can also call Lifeline on 13 11 14.