Australia’s peak LGBTI health body says it’s disappointed with figures showing mainstream health services overwhelmingly don’t believe LGBTI-targeted mental health services are important.

The national LGBTI mental health and suicide prevention report, commissioned by the National LGBT Health Alliance, shows only 28 percent of 143 mental health services surveyed had had LGBTI awareness training, and less than half agreed it was important to have LGBTI-specific mental health and suicide preventions programs.

Alliance chair Paul Martin (pictured) said the results were concerning.

“We have known for some time that there are higher levels of depression, anxiety and other mental health problems in the LGBTI populations, with evidence suggesting attempted suicide is 3.5 to 14 times,” Martin said.

The report, by Price Waterhouse Coopers, was released as part of the Alliance’s MindOUT project which deals with LGBTI mental health and suicide prevention.

The report surveyed mainstream mental health services, LGBTI individuals and LGBTI support groups. Martin said the information will help guide the Alliance’s future mental health campaigns.

“At the same time, we knew that mainstream mental health and suicide prevention initiatives rarely target LGBTI people and are poorly resourced,” Martin said.

“What we didn’t know was the level of awareness and identified needs amongst LGBTI people themselves, LGBTI health and welfare services and mainstream mental health services.”

The study surveyed just under 2000 LGBTI individuals and found 92 percent agree that mental health is one of the most significant issues facing the community.

A further 86 percent agreed having LGBTI-specific mental health and suicide prevention services was important.

Individuals said taking actions such as training GPs and mainstream mental health and suicide prevention services and including LGBTI-specific services would make a positive difference.

Only 18 percent of the mainstream services surveyed included the LGBTI community specifically in their goals or strategic plans.

Services did agree, 71 percent, that mental health was one of the most significant issues in the LGBTI community.

The results showed 85 percent of services have an LGBTI-inclusive anti-discrimination policy and 56 percent have patient intake forms that include options inclusive of transgender, intersex and other gender diverse people.

The research was conducted between March and May this year.

The Alliance recently received a $1.1 million grant from the Gillard Government to address mental health and suicide prevention issues.

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