A MIDLAND based LGBTQIA+ youth program has won the diversity award at this year’s Western Australian Association for Mental Health’s mental health awards, held last Thursday, November 23.
The Our Place program is a collaboration between the City of Swan, Youth Focus, and headspace Midland.
Our Place received the award for delivering an inclusive program in WA designed for LGBTQIA+ young people aged 12 to 25 years that addresses the mental health and community challenges they face as they often experience social exclusion and stigmatisation.
City of Swan Mayor Tanya Richardson said the city was honoured to receive the diversity award for Our Place.
“Our access and inclusion plan outlines the importance of safe and welcoming facilities for the LGBTQIA+ community, as well as supporting young people to feel connected and respected,” she said.
“Our Place is a great example of this plan in action. The city champions inclusivity for all residents and we are extremely proud to receive this award,” Mrs Richardson said.
She said as part of Our Place the city provides semi-structured programs, direct mentoring, and leadership opportunities.
Headspace Midland community engagement officer Casey Walton was as equally honoured as Mayor Richardson.
“To be able to say that the Our Place project was this year’s winner will still shake me for days to come,” she said.
Ms Walton said the work that programs like Our Place are very important to the LGBTQIA+ community.
“The program was developed to empower LGBTQIA+ young people, to help them cope with daily stressors, recognise their abilities, and contribute to their community,” she said.
In 2022, the Australian Institute of Family Studies found that including LGBTQIA+ young people in the community is critical for their wellbeing, yet 66 per cent of LGBTQIA+ young people experience social exclusion.
Our Place hosts weekly workshops, including artwork, video games, and self-care activities.
The program also offers a sensory-safe space to relax and connect with other LGBTQIA+ young people.