The Rainbow Health Victoria Logo. A thick outline of a rainbow with gradient colours next to the words Rainbow Health Victoria in black font. Below in Rainbow gradient font the words Evidence + Advocacy + Action
March News

Urgent response required for LGBTIQ mental health

It has been a busy time here for Rainbow Health Victoria. In the past months we have been involved in the launch of two large national surveys of LGBTIQ health and wellbeing conducted by the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society. 

These surveys have added to broader Australian and international research regarding poor outcomes and specific service needs for LGBTIQ communities across a range of health and wellbeing areas.

In particular, the surveys found alarming levels of mental health diagnoses, psychological distress, self harm and suicidality that are many times that found in the general population, and are only likely to have deteriorated further during the pandemic. The evidence base is clear for immediate policy priority and dedicated attention and action at service and system level. 

A critical opportunity to address this recently was the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, with its Final Report having been released on March 2.

A welcome recommendation included in the report is sustained funding to the Rainbow Door run by Switchboard – an LGBTIQ community-controlled state-wide intake and phone counselling service – as well as a specific aftercare service for LGBTIQ people having attempted suicide.

The Final Report also states that addressing the needs of LGBTIQ communities will be core business for services within the reformed system, along with a greater focus on data collection and governance to ensure accountability. However, while responsibility for future planning and implementation to achieve this is outlined in the report, very little is committed in terms of immediate action.

We know from the Private Lives research that LGBTIQ communities want a choice of services delivered by trusted and skilled LGBTIQ community-controlled organisations, and mainstream services delivered by organisations and systems that have committed and taken action to become truly LGBTIQ-inclusive. Unfortunately, the Final Report does not provide a clear mandate or pathway to achieve either in the short-term.
The depth and scale of mental health concerns for LGBTIQ communities require an immediate service response. We know that LGBTIQ inclusion in mainstream services and systems takes time, it takes effort – and it will not happen unless policy priority and investment are attached to it. Yet many LGBTIQ lives depend on it, and without it exclusion will remain the default setting and the harsh reality for many.
Rainbow Health Victoria will continue to advocate for informed policy and action on these issues, and continue to work with government, services and organisations seeking to improve LGBTIQ inclusion.

In February, we launched our brand new Rainbow Tick Guide, Rainbow Tick: a framework for LGBTIQ inclusion. This updated guide is easy to use, and provides a clear framework to support any organisation at any stage to take informed and strategic action to improve inclusion, while also supporting organisations to achieve formal Rainbow Tick accreditation.

The guide is available for download here, and a recording of the launch, as well as additional tools and resources, will be uploaded here. Please share widely. We hope you find it useful.
A headhot photo of Marina Carman smiling into the camera.
Warm regards,

Marina Carman
Rainbow Health Victoria
5 cartoon people reperesenting different LGBTIQ demographics in front of a purple background.

The latest Rainbow Tick LGBTIQ inclusive practice framework

Rainbow Health is proud to share two new resources, the new guide to the six LGBTIQ-inclusive practice Rainbow Tick Standards, and an associated accreditation and evidence guide. 

Download them from our website.
A black speech bubble logo with the words inside Healthy Equal Youth HEY. A Rainbow coloured filled X and the words celebrating 10 years.

Congratulations to the round 10 HEY grant recipients

An incredible 12 projects received $110,000 to fund their programs and projects supporting the health and wellbeing of LGBTIQA+ young people. Many of the projects and programs are youth-led and all of them were selected by a panel of LGBTIQA+ community members. You can read more about the recipients on YACVic's website.
A logo with the word Val's in large font in the centre. Underneath in smaller scriptive font the words LGBTI Ageing & Aged Care. Behind these words are stars of many different colours.

Royal Commission Into Aged Care Quality and Safety Final Report

On March 1, the Final Report of the Commonwealth Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety was released.

5 stars of different colours.
Rainbow Health Victoria and Val’s note the inclusion of the experiences of LGBTI older people in the Report in the context of diverse communities. Within this, we will continue to advocate for LGBTI older people to be acknowledged as a population with unique experiences and needs in the next Aged Care Act.

For more information subscribe to the Val’s newsletter. To read the report visit the Royal Commission website.
A post card promoting Rainbow Health Victoria on top of many other colourful postcard and flyer resources for the LGBTIQ communities. There are also colourful badges and pronoun badges scattered across these postcards.

Find more Rainbow Tick tools and resources

Our website has a dedicated page of tools and resources to support services and organisations at any stage of their journey towards LGBTIQ inclusion. You can also watch a recording of the new Rainbow Tick Guide launch event. This recording includes feature speakers and a rapid fire panel of guests.
Two cartoon young people wearing colourful clothes and accessories representing young queer people.

Download the Victorian Summary report of WTI4

This report describes Victoria-specific findings from Writing Themselves In 4, the largest ever survey of health and wellbeing among LGBTQA+ young people in Australia. This report summarises  experiences and needs at a state level, complementing the national report released last month. Find them both on the study's home page.
A hand with a pen writing notes in an empty note book. On this desk are also colourful posters which welcome LGBTIQ people to service providers.

Rainbow Tick Communities of Practice are back for 2021

This is a free community of practice for any organisation working towards LGBTIQ inclusion or the Rainbow Tick. This session on March 17th will focus on Standard 1: Organisational Capability, featuring a presentation from QIP and shared learning activities around project planning. Register via zoom.
Feature Resource - Research Matters
Since last year Rainbow Health Victoria has been gathering the latest research in specific areas to produce succinct, accessible guides on key topics. So far three have been published,  What does LGBTIQ mean?, Why do we need LGBTIQ-inclusive services? and How many people are LGBTIQ? 
Download all Research Matters from our website
A post card promoting Rainbow Health Victoria on top of many other colourful postcard and flyer resources for the LGBTIQ communities. There are also colourful badges and pronoun badges scattered across these postcards.
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