Royal Perth and Bentley hospitals’ inpatient mental health services today celebrated a milestone ‘Rainbow Tick’ accreditation by raising a Rainbow Flag – signalling their support and respect for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community.
The Rainbow Flag highlights their commitment to ensuring that all inpatient mental health services are accessible and inclusive for those seeking treatment, as well as providing a friendly and welcoming place of work for LGBTI staff.
RPH and Bentley Hospital provide youth, adult and older adult inpatient mental health services. Rainbow Tick accreditation aims to help overcome some of the barriers that prevent LGBTI people seeking support and treatment for mental health issues, including perceived feelings of discrimination and stigma in relation to mental health care.
The LGBTI community are up to 14 times more likely to attempt suicide, with rates of depression over five times higher among transgender people and 3.5 times higher among lesbian, gay and bisexual people.
Both hospitals have been working toward achieving the accreditation since February 2016, and undertook an extensive education program and policy and practice review to better promote and inform staff of practices that promote LGBTI inclusivity.
As part of that process, a number of staff volunteered as ‘Rainbow Champions’, and it was their role, along with ‘lived-experience representatives’ and LGBTI community members, to support staff during the stringent accreditation process.
To achieve the accreditation, applicants are required to demonstrate achievement against a set of nationally agreed standards. The accreditation is administered by independent accreditation provider, Quality Innovation Performance and developed by Rainbow Health Victoria – Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University.
As stated by Health and Mental Health Minister Roger Cook:
“The addition of the rainbow flag, located on site at Bentley Hospital, is an important indicator that safe and inclusive mental health services are being offered to members of the LGBTI community.
“When accessing mental health services, LGBTI people may experience increased feelings of stigma or discrimination, due to a fear of judgement from their health care professional. This accreditation is a first for any public hospital in WA and a credit to the team at East Metropolitan Health Service.
“Achieving Rainbow Tick accreditation is an important step towards ensuring our State mental health services are accessible and inclusive for everyone visiting or seeking treatment, as well as providing a friendly and welcoming place of work for our staff that identify as LGBTI.”