Wear it Purple as show of support for LGBTIQA+ community
Friday marks Wear it Purple, a global day of support for LGBTQIA+ young people. Wear it Purple was created to address the significantly higher rates of self-harm, anxiety, depression and suicide that LGBTQIA+ people experience, and to promote inclusivity within the community
Fox Fromholtz, in Marathon Health’s Equal Ground program, says it’s important to take every opportunity to support diversity and foster safe and inclusive environments. Encouraging the community to get involved and learn more about the issues LGBTIQA+ people face.
“Being same sex attracted or gender diverse isn’t what causes mental health concerns. It’s the discrimination, exclusion, homophobia and stigma that LGBTIQA+ people experience that creates the risk for mental health concerns,” Fox said.
Recognising the need for LGBTIQA+ specific support, Marathon Health, with funding from Capital Health Network designed the Equal Ground program. Operating in the ACT, Equal Ground provides support to LGBTIQA+ people aged 16 and over. The program also emphasises the importance of creating communities and relationships.
“Everyone wants to feel safe and accepted, that’s why a place to build connections and community is really essential to people’s wellbeing, especially during times of uncertainty like COVID-19”, Fox said.
headspace Canberra, similarly advocate for the wellbeing of LGBTIQA+ people. Tracy Boomer, Community and Youth Engagement Officer at headspace Canberra says the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has elevated anxiety and stress levels for local young people, which can have adverse effects on already vulnerable people.
“It’s really important to provide a space for young people to feel connected. We know that talking about sexuality and gender can be tough for some young people, that’s why it’s vital to provide safe spaces and tailored support,” Ms Boomer said.
The ability to form and maintain genuine connections can have positive impacts on mental wellbeing and overcoming difficulties.
Equal Ground and headspace Canberra are supported by funding through Capital Health Network, provider of the ACT PHN, as part of the Australian Government’s PHN program.