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Youth groups get funded

in AUSTRALIA, 12/04/2012

Support services targeting LGBTI youth will benefit from some $180,000 of state government funding this year. The announcement was made last week by Mental Health Minister Mary Wooldridge (pictured) during the launch of a La Trobe University report — Private Lives 2 — which shows high rates of anxiety and depression in LGBT Australians.

“The Private Lives 2 research found around half of GLBT young people aged between 16 and 24 reported experiencing high or very high levels of psychological distress and that these levels of distress are around 30 to 40 percent higher than in the general population of young people in Australia,” Wooldridge said.

Wooldridge announced seven Victorian organisations would receive support to develop or maintain LGBTI youth programs, including Brimbank Youth Services ($27,500), St Kilda Youth Service ($30,000), Grampians Community Health ($40,000), YGender at Drummond Street Services ($12,295), Mildura Base Hospital ($29,500), The Centre for Multicultural Youth ($40,000), and Youth Assist Clinic at South Gippsland Hospital ($7000).

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

The grants fall under the Baillieu Government’s newly named Healthy Equal Youth grant scheme. The scheme’s fund is made up of $4 million (over four years) promised by the Baillieu Government to boost LGBTI youth suicide prevention and mental health services.

Rainbow Network coordinator Roz Ward welcomed the latest round of funding, but warned many LGBTI youth support groups in Melbourne’s outer suburbs still face risk of closure.

“I think it’s positive, I think all of them sound like great projects,” Ward told the Star Observer.

“But I think one of the key points out of this round of funding is the kind of desperate need for more funding for all the groups that weren’t successful.”

Ward said almost 40 applications had been made in the 2012 round.

She said the inclusion of YGender, a support group for sex and gender questioning young people, was particularly welcome.

“The amount of interest from schools needing support to be able to support transgender students at school has been higher than expected.

“I think YGender have also found the interest they’ve seen in their activities is more than they expected too, so there’s obviously a big need in that area.”

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