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Dear the Honorable Matthew Guy; incumbent opposition leader and leader of the Victorian Liberal party,

We call on you to stand by your commitment, pledging a focus on support for the mental health of young people.  We agree this should be a focus on state and federal governments at this time.

We support your recommendation calling on the government to employ a mental health specialist at every Victorian school, given students have lost up to 151 days of class and have suffered six interrupted terms.

We are pleased that you recognise the importance of the mental health of young Victorians, stating “The shattered mental health of young Victorians is the biggest threat facing our state today,” and “The consequences of lockdowns and social isolation on our students will last a lifetime if we don’t act now.”

We call on you to ensure that this support includes the mental health of young LGBTIQA+ people.

We call on you to repeal your previous rhetoric in regard to trans and gender diverse young people around the Safe Schools debate. We call on you to commit to school-based inclusion and antibullying initiatives such as Safe Schools and revoke previous condonation of the comments of Liberal MP Bernie Finn, describing the Safe Schools anti-bullying program as “a full-frontal assault on the innocence of children and the role of families in society”.

A recent case study by Twenty10 into the mental health of LGBTQ+ young people (16-25 years) across Australia during Covid-19 lockdowns found staggeringly high rates of mental health issues including depression. We have known for some time that due to the complexities around societal pressures, LGBTIQA+ are more at risk of suffering mental illness, and therefore must not be left behind in this commitment.

We look forward to the unveiling of your “positive agenda” in the coming weeks.

Karen Field
CEO Drummond Street Services