Members of the LGBTIQ+ community experience rates of depression; anxiety and psychological distress much higher than the general population. Historically, stigma; discrimination, and a lack of public support for LGBTIQ+ Australians and their relationships has meant many struggled to achieve a sense of personal and collective worth, which is recognised as crucial for good mental health and overall wellbeing.
Despite some advances in LGBTIQ rights and in social acceptance, instances of homophobic bullying remain high, particularly in schools, and mental health outcomes remain poorer than in the general population. At the State level, LGBTIQ+ Western Australians are identified as a priority population in the Suicide Prevention 2020 strategy. Trans people, in particular, are really struggling. Instances of depression; anxiety; post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); and other mental health issues remain alarmingly higher than in the general population.
Solutions to better mental health for LGBTIQ people can be achieved through legislative reform; and by improved support for individuals through appropriate funding of LGBTIQ specific mental health services. This has often not been the case in WA, notably with the defunding of Living Proud during the marriage equality debate in 2017.
A concerted effort from all levels of community and Government is needed to create communities that foster wellbeing for all Western Australians.