Thorne Harbour Health and Rainbow Health Victoria are calling on Victoria’s LGBTI communities to take action and have their voices heard during the Royal Commission into Mental Health.

In addition to the community consultations already underway, the Victorian government yesterday unveiled a new online portal for community submissions to the commission.

Thorne Harbour Health and Rainbow Health Victoria (formerly Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria) have developed talking points to help LGBTI individuals attending community consultations or making submissions via the government’s online portal.

The new resource outlines recommendations for action as well as the background research to support each area for improving Victoria’s mental health system.

Recommendations outlined in the document include building on the existing model to increase accessibility to community-controlled services, as well as workforce development for mainstream services to ensure there is no ‘wrong door’ for LGBTI Victorians to access the support they need to improve their mental health and wellbeing.

“With higher rates of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, self-harm and suicide compared to the general population, LGBTI Victorians need a mental health system that is welcoming and responsive to their needs,” said Thorne Harbour Health CEO Simon Ruth.

“It’s vital that our voices are heard.

“We’ll only ever get our needs met if the government hears from us. If our communities are silent on this issue, we’ll never see progress.”

Rainbow Health Victoria co-director Dr Jen Power said, “It’s important that LGBTI communities are equipped with the research evidence to support what many of them already know—that LGBTI Australians are experiencing poor mental health outcomes, often associated with marginalisation, discrimination, stigma, violence and abuse.”

Community consultation sessions are being held at various locations now through May, with registration closing at 5 pm the day before each session.

Input can be submitted through the online portal until May 20 for brief comments and July 5 for formal submissions.

If you or someone close to you is struggling and needs someone to speak to, you can contact one of these services:

Switchboard/QLife: 1800 184 527
Headspace: 1800 650 890
Beyond Blue 1300 224 636
Lifeline: 13 11 14

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