The Phase 2 National Survey Community Report Launched
National Survey has laid bare the mental health challenges confronting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTQA+ young people and the factors that help them persist in the face of these impacts.
The Walkern Katatdjin: Rainbow Knowledge national survey is the first of its kind, capturing the mental health of young people across Australia that are both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning or Asexual (LGBTQA+).
It found that nearly half of participants had attempted suicide in their lifetime, and 19 per cent had attempted suicide in the last year.
Alarmingly, more than 90 per cent of the 619 participants reported having high or very high levels of psychological distress. Participants also reported having low feelings of connection to their spirit and ancestors, to culture, and to an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTQA+ community.
The project, which was funded by a grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council and received additional research funding from Embrace @ Telethon Kids Institute, aimed to understand the mental health, social and emotional wellbeing (SEWB) and experiences accessing care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTQA+ young people aged 14-25 years old.
The report was released in an online launch attended by over 380 people on Tuesday 25 July.
Findings of the Walkern Katatdjin (Rainbow Knowledge) Phase 2 National Survey Community Report support community advocates’ calls for urgent action to address suicide risk factors among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTQA+ young people.
Promisingly, participants reported high levels of connection to their family and kinship networks, and generally good physical health, as well as feelings of belonging to distinct Aboriginal and LGBTQA+ communities. Further findings from the survey suggest that support from family, community and Elders, along with a sense of pride in their identities, can improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTQA+ young people’s SEWB.
The survey and Community Report have been developed with the input and support of the project’s Youth Advisory Group, Governance Committee, partner organisations and supporting organisations across Australia.
(Article sourced from Telethon Kids Institute)