Media Release: VITAL - a new project to strengthen LGBTIQ communities and mental health

 While many LGBTI people live happy, healthy and productive lives, there are a range of preventable mental health issues which affect a disproportionate number of people in the LGBTI community compared to the general population. LGBTI people are twice as likely to experience anxiety disorders, three times as likely to experience affective disorders such as depression and social phobias and five times more likely to experience major depressive episodes.

 The AIDS Action Council’s VITAL project seeks to reduce the impact of mental distress in LGBTIQ communities. VITAL is a health promotion and suicide prevention project funded by ACT Health and focused on building a community safety net that helps prevent suicide for LGBTIQ people.

The Council’s Executive Director Philippa Moss said “The Council will work with A Gender Agenda to roll out a new project to be known as VITAL. VITAL has three core components: firstly, a population health promotion campaign with local champions targeting mental health literacy and wellbeing; secondly, LGBTIQ inclusion workforce training for mental health professionals; and importantly, an increase in counselling services through Westlund Counselling to provide direct aftercare services to LGBTIQ people identified and refereed by mental health professionals.”

VITAL will Increase the knowledge and skills of mental health service providers to respond appropriately to LGBTIQ communities in crises or in need of intervention. VITAL will increase awareness of mental health related issues through a local health promotion campaign targeting LGBTIQ communities, families and allies and provide direct services for those at risk.

Ms Moss added “We will be working across the Black Dog Institute LifeSpan evidence. This approach combines nine strategies that have strong evidence for suicide prevention into one community-led approach incorporating health, education, frontline services, business and the community.”

For more information please contact the AIDS Action Council on 6257 2855. To find out more about Westlund Counselling, click here

Download a copy of this media release here. 

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