Open Doors Youth Service received the lion’s share of funding to protect the mental health of LGBTIQ community members during the Australian Marriage Law postal survey.
As part of a “no-harm” campaign, Queensland Health provided a funding boost to Open Doors Youth Service and also Lifeline, Kids Helpline and Queensland AIDS Council.
Of the total funding provided, each organisation received $27,500 for support with telephone counselling services and visits to community-based LGBTIQ services, with an additional $227,500 for the Open Doors Youth Service, specifically for the use of Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) counselling and therapy.
A Queensland Health spokesman said only organisations with an existing service agreement in place were considered for funding due to the timeframes dictated by the Federal Government’s postal survey.
This ruled out Queensland’s leading LGBTIQ mental health counselling service, Diverse Voices, and a number of other vital non-government organisation (NGO) support services.
(QNews has requested a full list of NGOs with current service agreements and is awaiting a response from Minister For Health Cameron Dick’s department).
When asked to provide suicide statistics for the past five years, Queensland Health said the data “is limited, specifically for identification within the LGBTIQ community”.
“We do know research indicates that LGBTIQ individuals are at higher risk of suicidal behaviour and mental illness,” the spokesperson said.
“However, the elevated risk commonly found among (the) LGBTIQ community is not due to sexual orientation, sex or gender identity, but rather through key social determinants of health including discrimination and exclusion.”
The department could only refer QNews to a Griffith University Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention report covering the years 2011-2013.
Queensland Health encourages anyone experiencing distress due to the public debate over marriage equality to reach out and seek support.
If you need someone to talk to, help is available from Diverse Voices on 1800 184 527 or online at QLife.org.au, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, or Lifeline on 13 11 14.