Research has consistently proven that young members of the LGBTIQ+ community are significantly more likely to experience mental health difficulties than other young people. Anxiety and depression form parts of our day-to-day realities — due to a complex intersection of reasons including (but not limited to) notably higher statistics of emotional, physical, verbal, and sexual abuse, and early schoolyard bullying.
Let’s take a quick look at the receipts. According to LGBTI Health LGBTIQ+ young people aged between 16 and 27 are five times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual counterparts, while transgender people aged 18 and over are nearly eleven times more likely. The list goes on, with 41% of gay or bisexual people over 16 meeting the criteria for a mental health disorder in the past 12 months, and 37.1% of LGBTIQ+ people over 16 reporting treatment for a mental disorder in the past three years.
This is why it’s so important that we take the time to look after ourselves and each other.
We are not alone. We are loved. We are supported.
The vast majority of Australians value and respect us, our families and our relationships as equal. We are gorgeous, and glorious and together we will link arms and survive whatever is thrown our way both now and in the future.
For anyone who may, understandably, be struggling to cope at the moment — or just need a friendly someone to chat with — there is help available for you. Like, right now. Help is only ever a phone call or message away. You don’t have to go through this alone.
Here is a list of some of the services readily available to members of the Australian LGBTIQ+ community.
Twenty10’s specialised staff and volunteers offer personalised support, information and referrals to LGBTIQA+ people of all ages, their families, professionals and communities across NSW. Their groups and services are all FREE, confidential and respectful. You can call them in Metro areas of NSW on 02 8594 9555 or in rural areas (free call) on 1800 65 2010. Alternatively, there are also social support groups and youth counselling options available.
QLife is Australia’s first nationally-oriented counselling and referral service for LGBTIQ+ people, offering peer supported telephone and web based services between 3:00pm and midnight every day of the week, all around the country.
You can call them (between 3pm and midnight) on 1800 184 527 or start an online conversation here.
Maybe you’re not LGBTIQ+, or maybe you are but simply feel more comfortable contacting an organisation which isn’t queer-specific. No matter what's going on, Lifeline is always one call away.
Lifeline is available 24/7 and can be reached on 13 11 14 or on their online chat service.
The wonderful folks over at ACON pride themselves on helping all LGBTI people, but particularly those with HIV, take control of their mental health. They offer a number of counselling services and a care coordination program for people struggling with a complex spectrum of needs. If you feel like you’d benefit from a confidential one-on-one counselling session, appointments are available between 6pm and 7pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Fees for these appointments are negotiated according to your circumstances, with priority given to people on low incomes or with limited options.
For more information and/or to submit and enquiry, click here.
6. Drummond Street Services
Drummond Street Services is a not-for-profit family support agency that provides counselling and support to LGBTIQ+ people and their families. Through their queer space and youth service programs, DSS offers a range of helpful initiatives including individual, couple and whole-of-family counselling — as well as pathway programs to assist with those at risk of mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, alcohol and drug use.
To check out the services and support available at Drummond Street, click here.
7. Minus 18
Minus18 is a fabulous Australian youth-led organisation catering specifically to the diverse needs of LGBTIQ+ young Australians. Not only do they organise wonderful under-18 dance and social events (plus an annual formal in Melbourne and Adelaide), the team provides support and peer mentoring to LGBTIQ+ young leaders — ensuring future generations are in the safest of hands. Young creative LGBTIQ+ people are also able to exercise their filmmaking chops with the group’s thriving YouTube account, which has already racked up over 300,000 views and aims to give their audience a voice.
For more information on Minus18 and their services or events, click here.
Headspace’s wonderful online hub, aptly titled eHeadspace, is an incredible resource for those struggling with anxiety, depression and/or other mental health disorders. It provides a confidential, free and secure space where young Australians between the ages of 12 and 25 (including members of their family) can chat, email or speak on the phone with a qualified youth mental health professional. If you’d like to speak with someone person-to-person there are also 96 centres across the country — how good’s that?
Headspace has also developed some great resources and information packages alongside Rainbow Network and are always more than happy to assist those who are struggling as a result of their sexuality and/or gender experience.
You can speak with someone confidentially at Headspace by calling 1800 650 890 or chat online here.