Communities over Victoria are creating innovative initiatives for LGBTIQA+ young people’s mental health

Communities all over Victoria are creating innovative initiatives to support LGBTIQA+ young people’s mental health. From rural high school queer formals, a mental health hotline to films created by a group of LGBTIQA+ young people in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, new and innovative initiatives have been funded a total of $106,000 in this year’s round of Healthy Equal Youth (HEY) Grants.

See the full list of Round 9's HEY Grant recipients here.

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The HEY Grants, administered by Youth Affairs Council Victoria, in partnership with the Victorian Government, support youth organisations to undertake mental health promotion and community engagement activities which support LGBTIQA+ young people.

“The HEY Grants recognise that communities are critical in creating LGBTIQA+ acceptance and supporting better mental health outcomes for LGBTIQA+ young people,” says Katherine Ellis, Youth Affairs Council Victoria CEO.

“Six of the eleven funded projects are regional or rural, with funded projects ranging from South Gippsland in Victoria’s border with New South Wales all the way out west to Horsham.

“For LGBTIQA+ young people from rural and regional areas, the HEY Grants funding can shift attitudes of entire communities, and show pride in regions where the LGBTIQA+ community may not be as visible or accepted.

“Two state-wide awareness initiatives of increasing Switchboard Victoria’s mental health capacity to assist young people, and increasing access to quality health services for trans, gender diverse, and nonbinary young people, are significant projects which will improve the lives for these young people.”

Over 9 years, HEY Grants have supported over 80 organisations across the entire state, with projects selected by a panel of LGBTIQA+ young people and workers, who pick the project based on community need and the involvement and empowerment of young people.

Many LGBTIQA+ young people still experience discrimination and abuse in their communities and have been facing increased stress since the marriage equality debate in 2017.

They are twice as likely as their peers to experience mental illness; with transgender, gender diverse, and non-binary young people twice as more likely again to experience mental illness than other members in the LGBTIQA+ community.

HEY Grants are part of the broader HEY Project, delivered in partnership by YACVic and the Victorian Government to bring together 16 key organisations to collaborate and work together on improving mental health and wellbeing outcomes for young Victorians.

“HEY is playing a critical role in helping LGBTIQA+ young people and their communities have a safe, prosperous and fair future” says Ms Ellis.

Media contact: Thomas Feng, YACVic Media and Communications Manager, 0431285275

Katherine Ellis, YACVic CEO is available for further comment.

Thomas Feng and Derm Ryan, YACVic Rural Manager, who manages the HEY project, are available as spokespeople for interviews.

About Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic)

Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic) is the peak body and leading advocate for young people aged 12–25 and youth workers in Victoria. Our vision is that the rights of young people in Victoria are respected, and they are active, visible and valued in their communities.

YACVic leads policy responses to issues affecting young people, represents the youth sector to government, resources high quality youth work practice, research and advocate on youth issues. We value our members and prioritise their needs.