By: Jade Mirabito / MHPN Network Facilitator
The Gold Coast, located in South East Queensland is a known hub for tourism; however it is also known for the provision of multi-faceted support across the human services. One of the notable gaps in awareness across the Gold Coast is around LGBTIQAP+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex, queer, asexual, pansexual, and other diverse identities) identifying people. The gap was identified due to a severe lack in referral pathways for youth accessing the only LGBTIQAP+ focused 13-24 suicide prevention service on the Gold Coast.
In order to increase referral pathways, and enhance LGBTIQAP+ health outcomes, Wesley Mission Brisbane, funded by Partners in Recovery- initiated a project called Transformative Practice. One outcome of this project was the development of a Gold Coast LGBTIQAP+ Mental Health Professionals Network (MHPN), administratively supported by the National MHPN located in Victoria.
The Gold Coast LGBTIQAP+ MHPN mirrors MindOUT’s goals in areas such as working to support mainstream mental health and suicide prevention organisations, as well as a variety of diverse health care services to assist with the needs of LGBTIQAP+ people. This enhances practitioner’s capacity to meet LGBTIQAP+ health requirements. The support of MindOUT workers has been instrumental in the development of the Gold Coast LGBTIQAP+ MHPN.
The funded position within the Gold Coast LGBTIQAP+ MHPN organises guest speakers and topics, compiles resources and activities, facilitates the meetings and creates invitations as well as summaries which are then sent out via the National MHPN to a distribution list of interested professionals across the Gold Coast and surrounding areas. There has been a lot of positive feedback regarding the structure of the meeting which allows for introductions, pronoun swapping and a question that reflects the topic of the session. The network has 25-30 regular participants who have shown up monthly for the past 12 months, and overall 90 active members who consist of; Psychologists, Social Workers, Nurses, Counsellors, GPs, Occupational Therapists, Psychiatrists, Paediatricians, Youth workers, School Based Practitioners, Academics, and many more types of professionals.
The participants have highlighted that the benefits of the network include; more efficient/richer referral pathways, high quality educational content, networking and peer support, capacity building of health resources, multidisciplinary interactions, and modelling of respectful leadership and communication. It is intended that there will be sustainable elements to the Gold Coast LGBTIQAP+ MHPN that will support its continuation long after the funded period.
Gold Coast LGBTIQAP+ Mental Health Network
Monday 4th April, 6pm to 8pm
Practical resources, activities and the future