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depression1Funding is immediately going to organisations working with LGBTI youth after worrying new research reveals a high percentage of our gay and lesbian young people are suffering psychological distress.

A major online survey of around 4,000 LGBTI Australians found that nearly 80% of the respondents said they’d suffered intense anxiety in the past year, while those aged between 16 and 24 reported experiencing high or very high levels of psychological distress – around 30 to 40 per cent higher than in the general population of young people in Australia.

The Private Lives 2 survey, conducted by La Trobe University Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society and Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria with funding by the Victorian Government, beyondblue and La Trobe University, also found that 44% hide their sexuality in public.

35% of the respondents to the survey were from the state of Victoria, where the Coalition Government made an election commitment of $4 million over four years to improve the mental health and wellbeing of GLBTI youth.

Launching the survey results this week, Victoria’s Mental Health Minister Mary Wooldridge announced recipients of Healthy Equal Youth grants to support suicide prevention and mental health activities for GLBTI young people.

The first recipients of the HEY grants will share in more than $180,000 to deliver tailored programs in school settings and established community and health services, and to facilitate youth group support services in rural and metropolitan areas of high need, she says.

The successful organisations are Brimbank Youth Services; St Kilda Youth Service; Grampians Community Health; YGender (Drummond Street Services); Mildura Base Hospital; the Centre for Multicultural Youth; and Youth Assist Clinic (South Gippsland Hospital).

“These seven projects address discrimination, challenge homophobia and transphobia and improve the experience for GLBTI young people when accessing health services,” Wooldridge adds.

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