Showcasing: The Macarthur LGBTIQA+ Program

Region
South Western Sydney
Lead agency
headspace Campbelltown

Living well domain
The program met the following domains:

  • Getting in early 
  • Providing the right type of care
  • Care for all.
South West Syd

Program Overview

headspace Campbelltown developed a program to support young people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer/questioning, asexual or other identity (LGBTIQA+) in conjunction with Chris Patel (of Gay Sydney Counsellor.Org).

The program comprised of group work with two age groups of young people, headspace Campbelltown staff undertook training and training was made available for school staff and school leaders.

South West Sydney Primary Health Network (SWSPHN) funded the program as part of an innovation grant.

Challenge

Since the dissolution of the Camp Queer group, run by Traxside Youth Health Service Campbelltown, support services for young people who identify as LGBTIQA+ in the Macarthur region has been limited.

The negative impact of the 2017 Plebiscite on Same-Sex Marriage on the mental health and wellbeing of young people identifying as LGBTQIA+, or questioning their gender/sexuality, is well documented. This impact was exacerbated for young people in the region due to the combination of the plebiscite results in south-western Sydney, and the lack of identified support services or programs for young people and those who work with them.

Outcomes

The program significantly reduced the distress of young people who participated. Therapy group feedback has been incredibly positive. Self-harm and suicidal ideation has been of high concern for these young people – this concern lessened over the course of the group. The participants have also formed friendships and they attended Mardi Gras together and have supported each other with encouragement and social activities outside the group. 

The program also built capacity and developed tools to assist those who are at the coal face of supporting young people who identify as LGBTIQA+. One school had 100 staff attend the training. The program also presented sessions to up to 100 school principals and deputy principals to target those with the greatest ability to change school environments and cultures. All sessions have been well received and several schools have signed up for further professional development and support.
 

Next steps

The program aims to expand to reach more young people who are struggling with issues of gender/sexual identity in the Macarthur region. The positive experiences of recent participants present a ready source of word-of-mouth support to engage more young people.

The program will also help to expand the interventions delivered at a school and workplace level. Running the program consistently will provide the necessary mental health and wellbeing support that young people who identify at LGBTIQA+ lack in the Macarthur region. 

For further information contact Aysun Goktepe, Clinical Services Manager, headspace Campbelltown.
Aysun.goktepe@onedoor.org.au