LGBTI communities working together on suicide prevention

A new plan focussing on suicide prevention among sexuality and gender diverse communities has been launched, highlighting six key areas for action.

The Community Action Plan for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people was launched at the inaugural Suicide Prevention forum in Hobart and coincided with IDAHO Day – the International Day Against Homophobia.

While most LGBTI Australians live healthy and happy lives, a disproportionate number experience worse health outcomes than their non-LGBTI peers.

This is particularly so when it comes to mental health and the risk of suicide – something members of the LGBTI communities in Tasmania have been keen to work on for some time.

The Plan points out that same sex attraction and transgenderism are not in themselves risk factors for mental illness.

Instead it's the impact of homophobia, transphobia and a number of other prejudices which marginalise and isolate certain sections of LGBTI communities resulting in poorer mental health outcomes.

The Community Action Plan was developed after a significant statewide consultation process, and identifies six areas for action.

These include challenging discrimination and prejudice, improving education and training, better access to services and information plus improving health services. In addition, the Plan points out that improving crisis and emergency responses and reducing isolation for LGBTI communities are also integral to preventing mental health problems.

This framework will allow LGBTI communities in partnership with the broader community and all levels of government, to take decisive and effective action to ensure better support for people thinking about, or at risk of suicide.

Tasmania's first Suicide Prevention Strategy was released in 2010 and focuses on helping local communities act to address suicide in their local environments.

Engagement with the community on suicide prevention has been improved with a focus on raising awareness and early intervention of mental health.