The NSW Government will today announce $450,000 to fund a GLBT mental health program, to be delivered over two years, aimed at increasing awareness and understanding around mental health in the GLBT community.

Deputy Premier and health minister Carmel Tebbutt said the Peace of Mind project, to be funded over two years, would help GLBTs recognise mental health issues while assisting mainstream health services to increase their knowledge of the mental health of GLBT people, and their capacity to respond to those issues.

“ACON will deliver the Peace of Mind project which will include the development and implementation of training programs and resource packages specifically designed to help GLBT people and workers in the mental health sector better understand the mental health issues which affect the GLBT community,” Tebbutt told the Star Observer.

“The GLBT community reports higher levels of depression, anxiety and other mental health problems, and the Peace of Mind project aims to help address these needs by building the capacity of GLBT community members and mainstream health services to respond more effectively.

“ACON already provides vital mental health services for the GLBT community such as counselling, therapy and support programs, and this new funding will enable them to continue their good work into the future.”

Tebbutt, who came out as a supporter of marriage equality under federal law earlier this year, said she hoped Peace of Mind would increase the likelihood of early intervention and the prevention of more complex mental health issues among affected people in the GLBT community.

She will formally announce the funding at the launch of ACON’s new GLBT Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy today.

ACON president Mark Orr said one of the biggest barriers to supporting a person with a mental health issue was their friends and family not recognising the problem.

“This project will help us address that by training people within the GLBT community to identify mental health issues so they can help friends or family members access appropriate support services,” Orr said.

“It also gives us the capacity to provide cultural sensitivity training for health care workers in mainstream services so they can meet the needs of GLBT people more effectively.

“By enabling us to develop innovative resources and foster new and existing partnerships, Peace of Mind is helping us shine a light on the mental health issues in our community and achieve better mental health outcomes for GLBT people.”

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