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Stigma’s toll on LGBTIQ+ mental health unveiled


Most callers from LGBTIQ+ communities seeking support from QLife struggle with anxiety from how others react towards them, and the prejudices that exist within their local community, according to long-time QLife volunteer peer support worker Colin.

QLife is a phone and web chat service hosted by LGBTIQ+ Health Australia around the nation, for callers to seek support from their peers, and further information about other services available to them.

“They worry about how their family, friends, and co-workers will respond to their coming out, and the realisation as to who they are” Colin said.

Colin shared an instance of a job offer being withdrawn once the faith-based organisation he had applied to found out about his sexual orientation.

Based in Western Australia, Colin is currently helping with the 50th anniversary celebrations of the state’s QLife partner, Living Proud, where he has volunteered since 1981; and was instrumental during the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

During mental health month, the CEO of LGBTIQ+ Health Australia, Nicky Bath is calling for the government and community to foster additional protective factors to support the LBGTIQ+ community members.

“New ABS data confirms LGBTQ+ people experience mental ill health at much higher rates  than the broader population,” Nicky said.

“These adverse mental health outcomes relate directly to the stigma, prejudice, discrimination and abuse that LGBTQ+ people have experienced and continue to experience.”

“These results highlight the need to foster protective factors that promote mental health and wellbeing—such as creating a sense of belonging, establishing support networks and relationships, and ensuring all trans and gender diverse people in Australia have access to gender affirming healthcare,” Bath said.

According to Colin, who came out in the 1970’s; the Homosexual Counselling and Information Service was available at the time, but he was not aware of it.

“Whilst we have come a long way, there is still a way to go.  When you think about trigger warnings and such, rarely do we hear mentions of services such as QLife, to offer support for LGBTIQ+ community members,” Colin said.

LGBTIQ+ Health Australia is the national peak organisation with a diverse membership across the nation, working to improve the health and wellbeing of LGBTIQ+ people, through policy, advocacy, research evidence and capacity building.

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Ritchelle is a Content Producer for Healthcare Channel, Australia’s premier resource of information for healthcare.


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