A new health initiative will target mental illness in the LGBTI community.

Acting ACON CEO Geoff Honnor said the Peace of Mind program is designed to equip people with the tools to recognise and assist others with a mental illness.

“Current research shows GLBT people are more likely to experience mental health issues than people in the general community,” he said.

“For example, GLBT people are twice as likely to experience anxiety disorders, three times as likely to experience affective disorders such as depression and social phobias, five times more likely to experience major depressive episodes and up to 14 times more likely to attempt suicide.

“What we know from the broader mental health field is that supportive personal networks are one of the most powerful tools for supporting recovery. Peace of Mind aims to help community members identify and make the most of their strengths to support our loved ones who may be in distress.

Three different workshops will be made available to community members in a variety of locations across NSW and all workshops are free of charge.

“Through the program, we will also be providing cultural sensitivity training for health care workers in mainstream services so they can meet the needs of GLBT people more effectively,” Honnor said.

“A trial of the program earlier this year got a terrific response from participants and we anticipate a lot of interest so I encourage people to register for a place as soon as possible.”

The program will include a series of workshops across NSW and has been developed by a partnership between ACON, the Mental Health Coordinating Council (MHCC) the National LGBTI Health Alliance and Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria. To find out workshop session times, visit the Peace of Mind website.

INFO: www.peaceofmindproject.com.au

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