Examining the experiences of people who help others during a mental health crisis. Drawing on data from 25 interviews and a survey of more than 300 people, this report focuses specifically on how LGBTQ people who provide peer support are impacted by doing so. Lean on Me demonstrates that burnout is a common negative impact of suicide prevention and mental health-related peer support in an LGBTQ context.
This report explores the genesis of such burnout, considering how and why the need for peer support is so great within LGBTQ communities in Melbourne. ‘Peer support’ has various meanings, including in the context of mental health services. We use the term to refer broadly to informal mental health support that LGBTQ people provide peers outside service settings.
The importance of peer leadership in LGBTIQA+ mental health was a recurring theme for speakers at Mind Australia’s inaugural ‘Respect in action’ webinar. Launched on International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT), the three-part webinar series is designed to foster conversations and provide an opportunity to learn more about the mental health needs of people from all backgrounds, ages and abilities.
The first webinar in the series looked at the ways in which LGBTIQA+ peer workers inform specialist care. The conversation featured Manu Kailom, Peer Support and Community Development Officer with LGBTIQ+ capacity building organisation Many Coloured Sky, and Alex Cuffe and Maya Kjellstrand, Mind Australia Peer Practitioners with the unique Aftercare LGBTIQ+ suicide prevention program
In this review, different types of peer support operating for LGBTQ+ people were found:
Professionally run peer support was found to be effective in preventing mental ill health, in that it helps to combat isolation, boosts self-esteem and confidence, and provides spaces for people to share and normalise their experiences. Additionally, these interventions have been shown to reduce the likelihood of risk-taking behaviours and combat mental health stigma within the LGBTQ+ community. Formalising peer support contributes to improving standards of professionalism within the LGBTQ+ VCS workforce, and helps to address challenges posed by intersecting minority identities by bridging gaps within LGBTQ+ communities.
The National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum and the National Primary Health Network Mental Health Lived Experience Engagement Network acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands and waters on which we work and live on across Australia. We recognise their continuing connection to land, waters, culture and community. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.
“A lived experience recognises the effects of ongoing negative historical impacts and or specific events on the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It encompasses the cultural, spiritual, physical, emotional and mental wellbeing of the individual, family or community.
“People with lived or living experience of suicide are those who have experienced suicidal thoughts, survived a suicide attempt, cared for someone through a suicidal crisis, been bereaved by suicide or having a loved one who has died by suicide, acknowledging that this experience is significantly different and takes into consideration Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples ways of understanding social and emotional wellbeing.” - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Lived Experience Centre
We welcome Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to this site and invite them to provide any feedback or items for inclusion.
We also recognise people with lived and living experience of mental ill-health and recovery and the experience of people who are carers, families, kin, or supporters.