THE New South Wales government has announced $500,000 in funding for services delivered by ACON to support suicide prevention efforts in Sydney’s LGBTI community.

Announced by Minister for Mental Health Tanya Davies, the funding forms part of an $8 million suicide prevention fund over eight years designed to support non-government and community-based organisations to improve responses to suicide prevention at a local level.

Davies acknowledged that suicide was something affecting the LGBTI community at a disproportionate rate.

“As members of the community understand, the statistics are disproportionately high within the LGBTI community,” she said.

“As a government we need to do everything we can to directly tackle that.

“The best way governments can proactively intervene in people’s lives is through grassroots organisations, because it’s those organisations that are engaged in people’s lives directly on a daily basis.”

The funding being provided to ACON over four years will be used throughout the Sydney and South Eastern Sydney local health districts, and the St Vincent’s Health Network, to train GPs to increase their knowledge of and capacity to respond to the needs of LGBTI people at risk of suicide.

The new funding will also enable ACON to provide direct aftercare services for those identified to be at risk of self-harm, experiencing emotional distress, and requiring support.

Chief Executive of ACON Nicolas Parkhill said the new funding helps to recognise the specific challenges faced by LGBTI people when it comes to suicide prevention.

“LGBTI people are at elevated risk of suicide, and suicide attempts are significantly higher than the general population,” he said.

“Self-harm rates for LGBTI youth and the trans community are even higher, and we estimate that Indigenous LGBTI Australians would most likely experience these increased rates as well.”

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