After SAGE’S submissions, along with many other contributors, to the federal parliamentary enquiry, the final report hase recognised the need for more support for sex and/or gender diverse groups in the area of mental health and suicide prevention.
The enquiry heard submissions and presentation from stake holders including mental health professionals and communities’ groups, including specifically on sex and/or gender diverse issues.
Some of the recommendations from the governments federal enquiry are:
The Committee recommends that the Australian Government direct specific funding for LGBTIQ+ and sex and/or gender diverse community-controlled health services, community groups and programs to provide mental health and suicide prevention services that meet community needs.
The Committee recommends that the Australian Bureau of Statistics Standard for Sex, Gender, Variations of Sex Characteristics and Sexual Orientation Variables, 2020 be embedded into all health and social services minimum datasets, including coroners’ data and Census data.
The Committee recommends that the Department of Health and the National Mental Health Commission develop, define and promote a common mental health language that can be shared across the community, and especially vulnerable groups including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, other culturally and linguistically diverse communities, elderly, youth, and LGBTIQ+ people.
The Committee recommends that the Australian Government fund the development of training resources for the mental health workforce in the provision of culturally appropriate and sensitive services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, other culturally and linguistically diverse communities, and LGBTIQ+ and sex and/or gender diverse individuals. Such training should be mandated through Australian Government funding agreements.
The final report goes further in that it recommended financial support for the voluntary and charitable sector that offers a lot of help to SGD groups who fall through the net of government provided services. When you are suicidal and can now get an appointment with a professional for months it renders those services inadequate and those who are suicidal are left with no real help just empty promises.
The report also recognises the importance of or real-life experience consultation for professional formulating services. Often professionals create services that fail to relate to the SGD communities needs because they are taking a top-down approach devoid of those people’s real-life experiences.
The report recognised the need for government services to allow self-selected identification of sex and/or gender in government records. However, the report did not fully acknowledge that much of the distress, physical, mental and emotional that people from sex and/or gender diver groups experience is due to government policies that sometime do no protect these groups.
As with every parliamentary report it will remain to be seen how many of these recommendations the government actually implements. The recommendations of any enquiry can be theoretical but the government of the day, when such recommendations are implements, depends of economic policies and the sympathies and prejudices of the ruling parties. There are also the constant fights between federal and state ruling body’s to consider, that often operate diametrically opposed human rights policies.
What is good about the report is that it has placed front and center the need for more help for sex and/or gender diverse groups; not necessarily being lumped in with gay services which many people for sex and/or gender diverse group will not access because they do not feel they are appreciate for them.