Cobaw Community Health sees spike in service demand, offers new support for LGBTI people

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A central Victorian health service says it is experiencing a spike in counselling requests since the same-sex marriage survey began and expects the mental health impacts of the federal government policy to continue after results are announced.   

A recipient of Victorian government funding to protect LGBTI people’s mental health during the course of the survey, Cobaw Community Health will begin running Friday afternoon support sessions at libraries in its service area.  

The initiative followed what chief executive officer Margaret McDonald called a “small, but significant” increase in requests for help since the federal government poll began. 

“We know there's a number of people feeling challenged and aggrieved because of the scrutiny upon them and their relationships,” Ms McDonald said. 

People seeking assistance were not just young LGBTI people, but represented a cross section of age groups, she said.    

The CEO said the potential of the survey to impact queer people’s mental health would not cease once the result was finalised. 

“That will take people time to recover from, especially when we've got a group of people in the community who have, for some time, been marginalised.

“We absolutely know that LGBTIQ people are over-represented in suicide and mental health statistics.”

Headspace Bendigo and the Victorian AIDS Council have also received a share of the state government’s emergency funding. 

For more information, phone Cobaw on 5421 1666. 

If you or someone you know if having a difficult time, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.