Head made from puzzle piecesACON’s response to the NSW Mental Health Commission’s 10 Year Strategic Plan

ACON welcomed the launch of the NSW Mental Health Commission’s 10 years Strategic Plan – Living Well: A Strategic Plan for Mental Health in NSW 2014 – 2024calling it inspiring, ambitious, and above all-inclusive. The plan acknowledges and identifies the experience of the LGBTI community and adopts ACON’s key recommendations to the Commission.

Nicolas Parkhill, CEO of ACON, said, “The Commission consulted extensively and widely with our communities, which has resulted in a clear, comprehensive and emphatic strategic plan.

This plan identifies and recommends a number of actions to be undertaken to ensure that services for LGBTI people are accessible, welcoming and appropriate. Importantly it promotes policies, programs and research that are inclusive of our communities.”

Recent research shows that when compared with the general community, LGBTI people are much more likely to experience a range of mental health issues including depression, anxiety, stress, self-harm, and suicidality.

Consider the following statistics (extracted from ACON’s Strategic Plan 2013-2018):

  • LGBTI Australians are up to 14 times more likely to attempt suicide than people in the general community
  • Up to one-third of LGBT Australians experience major depressive episodes, compared with just 7% of people in the general community.
  • LGBTI Australians are twice as likely to experience anxiety disorders as people in the general community and more than three times as likely to experience affective disorders such as depression and social phobias.

Continuing, Parkhill said, “We are also pleased to see a strong emphasis on building resilience and addressing some of the factors that lead to poorer mental health outcomes across the LGBTI community. These actions and approaches support and endorse those outlined in ACON’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2013 – 2018.

The plan clearly identifies mental health disparities in the LGBTI community such as increased suicide risk, higher rates of depression and anxiety, and their relationship to experiences of homophobia and discrimination.

We are particularly pleased that the report acknowledges the commitment to reform, the importance of peers, and the role of the community sector in addressing mental health disparities.”

ACON looks forward to working with the Commission, the NSW Government the LGBTI community over the next 10 years to improve mental health outcomes. ACON congratulates the Commission on this visionary and necessary approach to addressing the mental wellbeing needs of all people in NSW.

The plan is accompanied by a report entitled Living Well: Putting People at The Centre of Mental Health Reform in NSW, which outlines the case for reform.