Supporting the mental health of LGBTIQA+ young people
Content warning: discussions of suicide, mental ill-health, and psychological distress specifically for LGBTIQA+ young people.
The Suicide Prevention and Response Strategy Inquiry is an opportunity to better support the mental health of LGBTIQA+ young people.
Victoria’s LGBTIQA+ young people experience higher rates of psychological distress and suicidal attempts than the general adolescent population, and report feeling frequently unsafe in their educational environments. The Victorian Government has a responsibility to provide accessible mental health support to LGBTIQA+ young people, and to develop programs which address a variety of intersecting identities and diverse needs.
YACVic’s submission recommends a person-centred approach to mental health, incorporating trauma-informed care and the ongoing training of health professionals in inclusive practices. The new Suicide Prevention and Response Strategy must include consultation with young people who have lived and living experience of mental ill-health to effectively meet the needs of communities.
YACVic’s submission highlights the importance of genuine co-design with LGBTIQA+ young people and the need for opportunities for meaningful participation, which will lead to best practice models for mental health support within communities.
YACVic co-ordinates the Healthy Equal Youth (HEY) Partners funded by the Victorian Government Department of Health. The HEY vision is LGBTIQA+ young people in Victoria have their rights upheld, and are safe, empowered and celebrated.
This submission has been informed by consultations with young people and HEY partners, and previous grant recipients.
Youth participation should be embedded in all mental health services across Victoria.
Encourage all mental health services to undertake the Rainbow Tick accreditation and promote those with the Rainbow Tick accreditation via an easy-to-access online resource.
Expand specialist LGBTIQA+ and youth mental health services in rural and regional communities to address the growing demand and ensure everyone who needs support has access to it in a timely manner.
Mandate training for the mental health workforce on The Code of Ethical Practice for the Victorian Youth Sector and Youth Participation, and mental health providers to embed and resource ethical practice and youth participation practice.
Embed and resource youth participation models and principles throughout the design, delivery, governance, monitoring and evaluation of all mental health services, but especially suicide prevention and postvention services.
Incorporate feedback mechanisms to inform people who have contributed to this Strategy about how their input has been actioned.
Adopt person-centred approaches in all mental health services, with an emphasis on using trauma-informed care
Co-design resources and training with LGBTIQA+ young people for teachers and other educators to improve the school environment and reduce instances of bullying and harassment.
Invest in a specialist LGBTIQA+ suicide postvention program for young people who have attempted suicide. This program should be co-designed with LGBTQIA+ young people and their friends and family.
Support local communities through grant opportunities and training to deliver community memorials and other events when experiencing a loss by suicide.
Improve access to supports such as counselling and other programs for students bereaved by suicide.
Provide ongoing professional development to teachers and other school staff on how to have conversations about suicide without causing further harm or trauma to other students.