A new strategy has been released to improve health outcomes for Western Australians who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI).
The strategy was developed with extensive input from the local LGBTI community and health service providers to better address LGBTI physical and mental health care needs.
A broad cross-section of LGBTI people were involved in the development of the strategy through a series of face-to-face community conversations and online surveys.
More than 600 submissions were received, that detailed the priorities individuals from the LGBTI community would like to see addressed.
The strategy identifies six priority areas which will help lead to better health outcomes for LGBTI people over a five-year period – including, promoting accessible and inclusive health services, leadership, affirmative practices, access to LGBTI specific resources and services, research, education and training.
Up to 11 in 100 Australians may have a diverse sexual orientation, sex or gender identity, and many face discrimination, exclusion and stigma which are key factors that may influence mental and physical health and wellbeing.
LGBTI populations have higher rates of depression, attempted suicide and substance abuse. Gay, lesbian and bisexual people are more likely to smoke daily, misuse pharmaceuticals and consume alcohol in risky quantities compared to the heterosexual population.
The strategy supports existing LGBTI health services and initiatives including:
- A gender diversity service for young people up to 18 years’ old which provides assessment care and treatment (where appropriate) for issues relating to gender dysphoria and gender identity.
- Rainbow Tick accreditation, achieved by Royal Perth and Bentley hospitals in May, which formally recognised their support and respect for the LGBTI community.
As stated by Health Minister Roger Cook:
“LGBTI people are at greater risk of experiencing marginalisation, persecution and disadvantage. Hundreds of voices were heard through the development of this strategy and we listened to the issues raised.
“Hearing the health experiences LGBTI people, and learning how we can try to improve their experience of the health system is all part of this Government’s commitment to putting patients first.
“We now have a roadmap for the next five years which will help remove barriers for LGBTI people when accessing health services in WA, promote leadership, understanding and inclusivity and lead to important change.”