Queensland Health has granted four non-government organisations a slice of $338,000 in funding to protect the mental health of LGBTI community members during the upcoming Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey.
Minister for Health Cameron Dick said the funding would provide assistance in managing any increase in demand for services. The one-off funding has been allocated to Lifeline, Kids Helpline, Queensland AIDS Council and Open Doors Youth Service.
Mr Dick said there was no doubt the survey would impact the mental health and wellbeing of some vulnerable LGBTI people.
“The LGBTI community told the Turnbull Government that this plebiscite presents a very real potential to expose harmful and homophobic comment at a personal and community-wide level,” he said.
“It’s vital that people are able to access these organisations throughout the campaign, and in the weeks following the outcome. We want any person struggling with the debate to know they can reach out and seek support.”
But a notable omission from the funding was Queensland’s largest LGBTI mental health and support counselling service, Diverse Voices. QNews asked the Minister’s office why the organisation has been overlooked but his media contact said she didn’t have the details to hand and would pursue the matter. QNews has also formally requested current statistics on suicide rates within the LGBTI community.
The Equality Campaign’s Queensland Director Peter Black welcomed the additional support from the government during the postal survey campaign.
“Discrimination has an impact on mental health and wellbeing, and any efforts made to remove discrimination – as well as supporting LGBTI people’s mental health and wellbeing during this process – is welcome,” Mr Black said.
“Supporting the mental health and wellbeing of LGBTI people at a time when their lives are under intense public scrutiny is vital. LGBTI Australians are incredibly resilient and it is important during this time, especially, to look out for one another.”
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.