More than half of the LGBTIQ community access mental health services according to new research by Melbourne’s Drummond Street Services. Markedly, cis women and trans people show up as most likely to access help. The Queerspace Survey Results 2019 show some concerning findings and a need for more research into different cohorts of the LGBTIQ community.
The service conducted the survey of more than 800 people as part of Queerspace’s Midsumma Festival activities.
They sought insight into the services LGBTIQ people access and would like to access in their local areas.
Almost two thirds of respondents (63 per cent) said that they accessed a mental health service. Of those, most sought help from a GP.
Trans people were most likely to have accessed mental health services (65 per cent). Additionally, 64 per cent of cis women in the community also sought such help.
Carers made up one fifth of the respondents. 43 per cent of those carers reported caring for someone due to a mental health condition.
A quarter of those surveyed said they experienced financial hardship, with trans, non-binary and gender diverse people the most affected.
Moreover, trans women were most likely to be in financial hardship, at 59 per cent.
Drummond Street Services CEO Karen Field thanked the community for their help in completing the Queerspace survey.
“This very important data will help us identify current and emerging needs of LGBTIQA+ communities,” she said.
“The data from this survey shows that we cannot look at one health and wellbeing risk in isolation from others within and across LGBTIQA+ communities.
“The survey highlights the need to undertake health and wellbeing research that recognises that LGBTIQA+ communities are not a homogenous group. Therefore different cohorts within LGBTIQA+ communities such as trans women will experience higher rates and co-occurring health and wellbeing risks than all other groups of LGBTIQA+ people.”
The organisation hopes the survey results assist community services to identify emerging gaps in support. Additionally, Drummond Street Services hopes the findings help services shape their responses to community needs and remove barriers to access.
“We will continue to examine the results of this survey and advocate for more extensive research to be done around a range of issues as they impact different cohorts of LGBTIQA+ communities differently,” said Field.
Other research has revealed similar trends in mental health issues within the LGBTIQ community.
A University of Queensland study earlier this year showed that bisexual women were particularly prone to poor mental wellbeing. In that study, researchers identified stigma and discrimination as contributing factors.
Other researchers are focusing on the intersections between LGBTIQ and other identities to improve mental health.
A major grant announced last year is allowing community group Black Rainbow to work with academics to listen to the experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTIQ young people. Researchers identify developing strategies against homophobia and racism as crucial to improved mental health outcomes.
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