The Understanding LGBTI+ Lives in Crisis report is the result of Australian-first research conducted by the Australian Centre for Sex, Health and Society at La Trobe University.
Lead researcher, Dr Andrea Waling, said the study found 71 per cent of LGBTI+ Australians did not reach out to services, such as Lifeline, for help during their most recent personal or mental health crisis.
“It’s an alarming figure because we know from previous research that there is a higher rate of suicidal ideation, self-harm and poor mental health in LGBTI+ people,” Dr Waling said.
The study found the main reason LGBTI+ people chose not to use crisis counselling was “an anticipation of discrimination”.
“Many have faced discrimination from other health services and these experiences mean they’re reluctant to contact mainstream services, even in times of crisis.”
Study participants also said they did not want to be a burden to those services. Some turned to friends and family or GPs instead, while almost half dealt with their crisis on their own.
Lifeline Research Foundation National Manager, Dr Anna Brooks, said her organisation commissioned the study to gain a better understanding of how to improve services to the LGBTI+ community.
“It was pleasing to see that many of those who used crisis counselling had a positive experience and we will now work towards encouraging others to come to us in the future.”
The study includes a number of recommendations to help crisis and mental health support services to engage more positively with the LGBTI community, including training of staff, promotion of services and further research.
The full report, including quotes from participants, is available here
Media Contact Anastasia Salamastrakis 0428 195 464