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Community groups step in to address women’s health issues

Community groups step in to address women’s health issues

LAST UPDATED // Sunday, 03 May 2015 23:02

A forum aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of lesbian, bisexual and queer women will be hosted later this month by VAC and the Rainbow Network.

The event will host speakers including Georgie Harman (beyondblue CEO), Simon Ruth (VAC CEO), and Liam Leonard (Director of GLHV) and will include a keynote address from Dr Ruth McNair, the researcher behind the study that explored alcohol and other drug use by lesbian, bi and queer women.

The study found that over 50 per cent of study participants had experienced mental health concerns, and just over 40 per cent were drinking at unsafe levels. The study also found that lesbian, bisexual, and queer women were under represented in accessing support due to a range of reasons including fear or previous experience of discrimination in a service.

beyondblue CEO, Georgie Harman, said:

“LGBTI Australians are far more likely to be psychologically distressed than non-LGBTI Australians, largely due to the discrimination, homophobia, and transphobia they face, which can be devastating.”

“Bisexual women and lesbians however are even more likely to be psychologically distressed than bisexual and gay men, which reflects the higher prevalence of depression and anxiety among women generally,” she said.

“No-one should be made to feel like crap just for being who they are. That’s why it’s so important that people get the support they need and why beyondblue is proud to support this event.”

VAC CEO Simon Ruth added, “Continuing to target the specific service needs within LGBTI communities is paramount.”

Our hope is that this conference allows us to give the needs of women in these communities the attention and careful consideration necessary to offer the best possible response through our services.”

A panel of speakers including Tarn Thompson (QLife), Nadia Gavin (Harm Reduction Victoria), Wendy Brokenshire (VAC), and Ren Greyson (YSAS) will apply best practice considerations to a hypothetical case scenario. In addition to the panel, an afternoon series of workshops will be held.

Lesbian, Bisexual & Queer Women's Health Conference, March 27, to register for the event, visit vac.org.au/WomensConference




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