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ACON Welcomes New Government GLBT Health Initiatives

2 March 2011

(From left to right) ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill, Deputy Premier and Minister for Health Carmel Tebbutt, and ACON President Mark Orr at the GLBT Health Initiatives Announcement

 

Deputy Premier and Minister for Health Carmel Tebbutt today announced two new initiatives to
support better health outcomes in the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT)
community.

During a visit to ACON, formerly the AIDS Council of NSW, Ms Tebbutt announced the
establishment of a new Ministerial Advisory Committee to advise the Government on health
and wellbeing issues faced by the GLBT community.

The NSW Government will also provide $450,000 in new project funding to increase
awareness and understanding of mental health issues experienced by people in the GLBT
community.

"The NSW Government has a strong history of working with the GLBT community in NSW to
achieve better health outcomes and we want to build on that relationship," said Ms Tebbutt.

"The success of work in HIV/AIDS has taught us that we need to partner with communities to
deliver peer education messages that are targeted and culturally appropriate.

"The two initiatives I have announced today will help the health system better identify and
tackle health issues that impact disproportionately on the lives of GLBT people.

"The new Ministerial Advisory Committee will advise on a broad range of issues that affect the
health and wellbeing of the GLBT Community and support the development of a NSW Health
GLBT health and wellbeing agenda.

"The Committee's membership will comprise community members, health experts and
professionals in the GLBT health sector and its work will include alcohol and other drug use,
mental health, sexual health, ageing, violence and homophobia.

Ms Tebbutt announced Professor Andrew Grulich, head of the HIV Epidemiology and
Prevention Program at the National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research as the
inaugural chair of Ministerial Advisory Committee.

In recognition of the need to better identify and address mental health issues in the GLBT
community, $450,000 in new project funding will be provided to ACON for their Peace of Mind
project.

"ACON will deliver the Peace of Mind project which will include the development and
implementation of training programs and resource packages specifically designed to help
GLBT people and workers in the mental health sector better understand the mental health
issues which affect the GLBT community.

"The GLBT community reports higher levels of depression, anxiety and other mental health
problems, and the Peace of Mind project aims to help address these needs by building the
capacity of GLBT community members and mainstream health services to respond more
effectively.

ACON operates across NSW and is Australia's largest community based GLBT health and
HIV/AIDS organisation.

ACON President Mark Orr said ACON welcomed both initiatives.

"The formation of a Ministerial Advisory Committee on GLBT health and wellbeing is an
important step forward in improving the health and wellbeing of GLBT people throughout
NSW," Mr Orr said.

"The opportunity for members of our community to help shape government policy at this level is
extremely valuable and we look forward to this committee enhancing the strong partnership our
community has with the NSW Government in relation to building our community's health and
wellbeing."

Welcoming the grant, Mr Orr said one of the biggest barriers to supporting a person with a
mental health issue is their friends and family not recognising the problem.

"The Peace of Mind project will help us address that by training people within the GLBT
community to identify mental health issues so they can help friends or family members access
appropriate support services,' Mr Orr said.

"It also gives us the capacity to provide cultural sensitivity training for health care workers in
mainstream services so they can meet the needs of GLBT people more effectively.

"These two objectives are both key goals in our new Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy, a
three year plan for addressing mental health in the GLBT community."

 

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ENDS

For more information or to arrange an interview or photo opportunity, please contact us.

Contact: Andrew Hamadanian, Media and Communications Officer, ACON

Tel: (02) 9206 2044  
Mobile: 0419 555 768 

Email: ahamadanian@acon.org.au