|Tuesday, 22 January 2002|
$520,000 FOR GAY & LESBIAN YOUTH SUICIDE PROJECTS
The Bracks Government will spend $520,000 to combat high rates of attempted suicide among gay and lesbian young people, particularly in rural Victoria, Health Minister John Thwaites said today.
Announcing funds for two projects, Mr Thwaites said recent Australian research indicates gay and lesbian people are at significantly higher risk of attempted suicide than the population as a whole. Same sex attracted youth are a particular ‘at risk’ group.
“These young people are at greater risk of being victimised at school and facing family conflict, rejection, homelessness, substance abuse, mental illness and suicide,” he said.
“As part of the Government’s priorities for addressing special health needs, we are funding a Gay & Lesbian Youth Suicide Data Research Project and a Gay & Lesbian Youth Support Project.
“Up to 11 per cent of young people in the general population are attracted to the same sex, and suicide rates - especially for young men - are particularly high in country areas,” Mr Thwaites said.
The Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health & Society, La Trobe University is undertaking the Youth Suicide Data Research Project. It includes a comprehensive review and analysis of the nature and extent of suicide and self-harm among people with same-sex attraction, or where gender identity may be an issue.
“There is alarming evidence that gay and lesbian people have a far higher risk of attempted suicide – same sex attracted young people are six times more likely to try to take their own life than for the population as a whole,” Mr Thwaites said.
The three-year Youth Support Project aims to improve accessible and appropriate health and welfare services to gay and lesbian young people in rural and metropolitan areas.
Mr Thwaites said the project’s rural component would be undertaken by a consortium comprising Cobaw Community Health Service (Kyneton), St Luke’s Anglicare (Bendigo), Castlemaine & District Community Health Service and Goldfields Employment & Training Service. It includes the City of Greater Bendigo and shires of Macedon Ranges, Mount Alexander and Central Goldfields.
The metropolitan component of the Youth Support Project is to be undertaken by a consortium comprising the youth services of all seven Local Governments of the Eastern Region – Cities of Knox, Whitehorse, Manningham, Monash, Maroondah, Boroondara and Shire of Yarra Ranges.
“The rural and metropolitan components include a formal evaluation, with wide dissemination of project findings and recommendations. The project will thereby enhance the capacity of relevant services in other areas to work appropriately with gay and lesbian young people,” Mr Thwaites said.
Media contact: Sandra McKay - 96515799 / 0408 120 068 www.vic.gov.au
Media Release Attachment - G&LprojectsJT.doc [Word, 47616 Bytes]