FUNDING for the first ever Elder-led intervention to support young Aboriginal LGBTQA+ people brings new hope for the youth group most at risk of suicide in the nation.
Edith Cowan University’s (ECU) deputy vice-chancellor Prof Braden Hill and colleagues from ECU, Murdoch University and the Telethon Kids Institute have been awarded a research grant entitled, ‘Pride yarns: Development and trial of an inter-generational intervention for supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTQA+ young peoples’ wellbeing’.
The $624,000 funding over two years will enable researchers to develop and test the feasibility and efficacy of an Elder-led intervention for improving the social emotional wellbeing of Indigenous LGBTQA+ people aged 14-25.
Ten per cent of Aboriginal young people aged 16-29 years report being lesbian, gay or bisexual and four per cent as trans and gender diverse.
Professor Hill said despite a comparatively high rate of suicide and mental health difficulties among LGBTQA+ youth, they remain one of the most under-served groups of youth in Australia in terms of tailored psychological support.
“The urgency for interventions such as this cannot be underestimated, and recent survey data shows that 45 per cent of Aboriginal LGBTQA+ participants had attempted suicide in their lifetime, and 19 per cent in the past 12 months,” Prof Hill said.
“This suggests there is a real risk that Aboriginal LGBTQA+ youth may not make it past young adulthood.”
Professor Hill said despite experiencing strong pride in their identities, Aboriginal LGBTQA+ young people reported low levels of mental wellbeing across multiple indicators, including low feelings of belonging to Country and culture, low connection to spirit and ancestors, family and kinship, low inner peace, and poor physical health.
“These low levels place Aboriginal LGBTQA+ young people at risk of disconnection from the cultural factors that are known to contribute to good mental and physical health in Aboriginal peoples,” he said.