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Support doubles for vulnerable LGBTIQA+ young people

Rainbow Community House volunteers

A North Perth based LGBTIQA+ charity offering fully-subsidised counselling sessions for vulnerable people who otherwise could not afford counselling has received an additional funding boost thanks to a P&N Bank Helping &nds grant.

Rainbow Community House aims to eliminate suicide and self-harm among LGBTIQA+ people aged 12 to 25 years in Perth, providing tailored gender-affirmative mental health services so that sexually and gender diverse young people can be who they are with pride.

In Australia, LGBTIQA+ people are twice as likely to have symptoms of mental health disorders and transgender people aged 25 and under are nearly 10 times more likely to be diagnosed with depression.

At present, less than 45% of LGBTIQA+ young people have access to mental health support services in Australia due to long waitlists, unfriendly therapists, and a lack of safety, confidentiality and sensitivity. For young people experiencing bullying and poor mental health conditions, access to timely support can be critical.

Rainbow Community House was recently able to increase access to its vital services moving from two to four days a week, which was made possible through generous donations and community support.

Clay Morse, Founding Director Rainbow Community House, said LGBTQIA+ young people faced the same challenges as their heterosexual peers, however they have the added struggle of coming out and hoping for acceptance from friends, family and the wider community.

“Rainbow Community House is committed to providing a counselling service that is informed and driven by the young people we serve. It is important for anyone, especially young people, to feel they have a voice when it comes to their mental health.

“A number of our referrals are from young people who are not happy with the mental health service they are receiving because their therapist is not affirming of their gender and sexual identities. It is clear more training and awareness is needed in understanding LGBTQIA+ mental health.

“You do not need a referral from a GP to see us. We can support young people who are on a mental health care plan, as well as provide bulk bill services and have fee-paying sessions on a sliding scale based on household income.”

“We know that when people work together, individuals, families, groups and our community will flourish,” said General Manager P&N Bank, Angela Newland.

“As advocates for safe, empowering and inclusive environments for rainbow young people, our P&N Bank Diversity Advocates (p&nda) Network was formed in 2019 to champion and promote diversity and inclusion, in particular around LGBTQI+ topics, for our people, customers and communities.

“On behalf of our customers, we are proud to be able to provide support to WA community groups and small not-for-profits, such as Rainbow Community House, through P&N’s Helping &nds program so they can do what they do best – support the local community.”

For more information on Rainbow Community House, visit rainbowch.org

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