Gender diverse community shares concerns for suicide prevention draft

June 8, 2017

Gender diverse community shares concerns for suicide prevention draft

Mental Health Foundation manager of research and advocacy, Moira Clunie. Photo: Zaskiya Lesa

A meeting of minds in Mt Eden has shone the spotlight on suicide prevention steps for minority groups.

Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) community made a passionate plea to be recognised as a priority population.

The call was made at a meeting of Ministry of Health and Mental Health Foundation representatives, together with LGBTIQ rainbow community members in Mt Eden. The consultation was held to obtain feedback and criticism in improving the Suicide Prevention Strategy draft.

The draft’s aim is to “reduce the rate” of suicide and many at the meeting felt it would be achievable if the draft looked at the specific needs of each minority group.

Manager of research and advocacy at the Mental Health Foundation, Moira Clunie, said the consultation brought to light the need for LGBTIQ communities to be included in the national suicide prevention strategy.

“There needed to be a clearer naming of the LGBTIQ communities as a priority population and that those considerations needs to go across all the action areas in the strategy,” said Ms Clunie.

“For example, we need to address homophobia, transphobia and biphobia in schools through to how do we resource the community to support each other.”

Attendees shared their concerns in the rise of gay youth committing suicide due to the lack of knowledge schools were providing on sexuality and acceptance.

Aych McArdle of Intersex Awareness New Zealand (ITANZ), who is gender-neutral, was very vocal when voicing concerns on the Suicide Prevention Strategy draft.

“My hope from this hui [meeting] would be that LGBTIQ communities are specifically named as key populations for this strategy and that the action plan for these specific target actions are designed around the needs of the LGBTIQ communities in relation to each of the key priority areas,” Mx McArdle said.

Rainbow Youth support manager Morgan-Jean Butler shared similar views.

“I think that just adding the words LGBTIQ won’t resonate with many people, and so they should talk with more people from the community and weave their concerns through their new strategy.”

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