Psychological distress too high for young people in LGBTIQA+ communities

headspace National Youth Mental Health Foundation is urging all Australians to educate themselves on issues impacting LGBTIQA+ communities after releasing new research today, finding more than half (57%) of the young people in these communities have high or very high psychological distress.

headspace Executive Director Clinical Practice, Vikki Ryall addressed the research and reiterated the need for continued growth in how we include and support young people in LGBTIQA+ communities.

“Young people face many challenges, including family and intimate relationships, work and study pressures, exposure to drug and alcohol use for the first time, and bullying – among many others.

“For young people in LGBTIQA+ communities, there are additional stressors that can increase the risk of depression, anxiety, self harm and suicide, and we know suicide risk and poor mental health outcomes among young people who identify as LGBTIQA+ is still disproportionately high.

“Being part of LGBTIQA+ communities is not a risk factor for mental ill-health. The increased risk comes from experiencing discrimination, exclusion, homophobia and prejudice. It’s the responsibility of all members of the community to ensure that all young Australians feel safe to be themselves, feel accepted and have a sense of belonging in their families, schools and communities.

“We’ve come a long way in reducing stigma, and headspace is safe, accessible and provides informed and appropriate services. headspace centres across Australia also continue to provide strong advocacy in their communities to improve understanding, acceptance, inclusion and celebration of LGBTIQA+ communities but as a collective community, we need to do more.

Recognising the need for LGBTIQA+ specific support, headspace is proud to be re-launching Qheadspace this month. Qheadspace offers a safe dedicated space on the headspace website for young people who identify as LGBTIQA+ to connect with their peers through chats and forum group sessions.

“Qheadspace aims to overcome a number of barriers that may prevent gender and sexuality diverse young people from seeking support for their mental health. It’s vital we continue to expand tailored support to these communities at a critical time in their life. We know having conversations about sexuality and gender identity can be really challenging, so the online platform allows for anonymity with peer moderation offering support from young people who’ve perhaps been through something similar.” Ryall said.

Qheadspace officially re-launched this month and can be accessed via the headspace website here: https://headspace.org.au/eheadspace/spaces/community/372936

headspace will host a ‘group chat’ on the challenges young LGBTIQA+ people face every Tuesday from 6 to 10pm (AESDT). This online chat is run by young people for young people and provides an opportunity to learn and share experiences with others in a safe space which is moderated by peer support moderators. Click here to view transcripts and participate in the next chat https://headspace.org.au/eheadspace/group-chat/psm-qheadspace/

Interview opportunities are available with headspace clinicians on the topic as well as young people who identify as LGBTIQA+.

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