CEO Update: Standing with you

Standing with you

In the past, I have spoken about the need to get specific when we discuss and call out social determinants that have an inter-play with mental ill-health and mental illness. In order to address the discrimination that marginalized groups experience when it comes to mental health and wellbeing, it is crucial to name these groups and confront the disparities each faces.

Thanks to the work of organisations like our friends at the National LGBTI Health Alliance, we are all in this sector acutely aware of the appalling statistics when it comes to the mental health of LGBTIQ+ people and communities.

To name just a few:

  • 16% of LGBTI young people aged 16 to 27 reported that they had attempted suicide
  • 35% of Transgender people aged 18 and over have attempted suicide in their lifetime
  • 19% of people with an Intersex variation aged 16 and over had attempted suicide on the basis of issues related to their Intersex status
  • 8% of Same-Gender Attracted and Gender Diverse young people between 14 and 21 years had attempted suicide, 18% had experienced verbal abuse, and 37% of those who experienced physical abuse

This is especially shocking when compared to the general population, where 3.2% of people (4.4% females; 2.1% males) aged 16 and over have attempted suicide in their lifetime.

And alarmingly, 71% of LGBTI+ people aged 16 to 27 indicated that they did not use a crisis support service during their most recent personal or mental health crisis, of which 32.6% indicated that their decision was due to anticipated discrimination.

As an organisation we are continually seeking ways to embed our overarching commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion into our policies and values, and to be a visible and practical advocate and supporter of LGBTIQ+ people and communities.

As such, Mental Health Australia is proud to announce that we have signed the Darlington Statement, a joint consensus statement by Australian and Aotearoa/New Zealand intersex organisations and advocates which sets out the priorities and calls by the intersex human rights movement in these countries.

As the National LGBTI Health Alliance noted in their 2020 Snapshot of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Statistics for LGBTI People:

There are significant differences between the mental health and wellbeing of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, and people with an intersex variation, with social and medical constructions playing an important role in how people feel about their own bodies and intersex variations.

Mental Health Australia stands by and with the intersex community to raise the visibility of their priorities and needs, including human rights and legal reform, health and wellbeing, peer support, allies, and education, awareness, and employment.

For too long this community has faced stigma and discrimination, and harmful medical practices continue to occur in Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand. Mental Health Australia acknowledges the impact this has on health and wellbeing, leading to trauma, distress, isolation, and mental ill-health.

Mental Health Australia acknowledges the diversity within the intersex community, and hopes that signing the Darlington Statement will be our first step towards uplifting the voices of this community and raising the visibility of intersex issues in Australia.

Have a good weekend.

Leanne Beagley

For more information on affirming the Darlington Statement, click here.

To read our affirmation of the Darlington Statement, click here.



On Monday I’ll be attending The Trajectories Housing and Mental Health policy development workshop while later that day I’ll be meeting with the PHN Cooperative.

On Tuesday I am delighted to be part of a panel to launch World Occupational Therapy Day with OT Australia CEO Samantha Hunter and President Carol McKinstry. Then the Mental Health Australia Board has a Governance Committee meeting. Later we’ll be holding a Mental Health Australia staff planning and strategy day, looking ahead to 2021 and beyond.

While on Wednesday I’ll be working on a Social Prescribing proposal with colleagues.

On Thursday I’ll be meeting with Ilsa Hampton from Meaningful Ageing Australia and with Katherine Boydell from the Black Dog Institute.

On Friday we have a meeting with Russ Wood from the Latitude Network to talk about their work in social impact informed program design.


Embrace Multicultural Mental Health News

The Framework for Mental Health in Multicultural Australia (the Framework) is a free, nationally available online resource which allows organisations and individual practitioners to evaluate and enhance their cultural responsiveness. It has been mapped against national standards to help you meet your existing requirements, with access to a wide range of support and resources. 


Mental Health News

Mental health @ work in COVID-19: Tuning in to mental health in and out of work

Workplace isolation as a result of COVID-19, the gig-economy and casualisation of the workforce means providing a mentally healthy workplace is no longer the sole domain of employers. NSW Mental Health Deputy Commissioner Tim Heffernan is calling for employees to step up and create work environments in which human connections flourish. 

Read more

$13.6 million to support the mental health of new and expectant parents

Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, says the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the incidence and severity of perinatal depression and anxiety. Since March 2020, the number of new callers to the Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia (PANDA) helpline has doubled. 43% of all calls to the PANDA helpline come from Victoria.

Read more

Steps toward better mental health for young Australians

The Australian Government is ensuring the mental health and wellbeing of young people remains a priority during a challenging time. 

Read more

Young people risk more mental health issues as wellbeing declines

headspace National Youth Mental Health Foundation has revealed the serious impact 2020 is having on the wellbeing and mental health of young Australians, with concerning new data showing rates of psychological distress remain high or very high, and there’s an overall decline in wellbeing. 

Read more

Mental health funding for rural Queensland councils

Local Queensland Communities will be able to apply for grants of up to $75,000 for mental health initiatives as part of the Palaszczuk Government’s $46.5 million Mental Health and Wellbeing Community package supporting the COVID-19 recovery. 

Read more

New mental health app for defence

The mental health and wellbeing for Australian Defence Force (ADF) members, Reservists and their families has been bolstered with a new purpose built app released this week as part of mental health month. 

Read more


Member Profiles

Youturn Youth Support
Youturn Youth Support (formerly United Synergies) is a charity which started over 30 years ago to address and support youth homelessness in the local Noosa region. Since these humble beginnings of supporting just 6 people with 5 volunteers in our first year, our organisation has grown and evolved into a vibrant state-wide organisation dedicated to making a difference across three social causes of Child Safety, Homelessness and Mental Health. In August 2020, we rebranded our organisation and changed our name from United Synergies to Youturn Youth Support – to truly encapsulate the service to those young people we support. For more on the rebrand, watch our brand reveal video below.

FearLess Outreach
FearLess is a charity that works with people living with the consequences of post traumatic stress (often referred to as PTSD). We also help family members in any way affected by it. Our members come from all walks of life including those living with PTSD and their families or people who want to do their bit to make the lives of people living with post traumatic stress more enjoyable and fulfilling. Our work complements the activities of other community-based organisations and government agencies that provide services to people with post traumatic stress.



FearLess Webinar Invitation: Beyond Trauma

You are invited to another FREE webinar in our FearLess series in 2020.
In this webinar Beyond Trauma, our CEO Alex Gerrick will be chatting with the amazing Lisa Westgate & Anneke Weemaes.

Both Lisa and Anneke have incredible stories to tell. During this casual panel conversation, they will chat about their lived experience and how they have moved beyond their trauma and forward with their lives.

Thursday 29th October 2020
6pm - 7pm AEDT / 5pm – 6pm AEST

Read more

Occupational Therapy Australia - OT Week panel discussion

In 2020 the theme of Occupational Therapy Australia’s OT Week is ‘Resilience: Supporting our communities to rebuild, recover, and reengage.’

On 27 October a panel of thought leaders (including MHA CEO Leanne Beagley) will discuss and promote resilience in our communities. 

Read more


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