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September 2021

Funding open door on rainbow mental health care

LGBTIQ+ Victorians will have better access to free mental health support through a dedicated peer-led helpline service, thanks to a funding boost from the State Government.

Parliamentary Secretary for Mental Health Steve Dimopoulos announced Switchboard Victoria would receive $7 million to deliver tailored mental health information, support and advice through its Rainbow Door service.

Rainbow Door is a free, peer-led helpline for LGBTIQ+ Victorians, their friends and families.

The service provides information, support and referrals across a range of areas including mental health, family violence, alcohol and other drugs, housing, sexual assault and elder abuse as well as general health.

Trained staff provide support via phone, text and email and the hotline is also connected to a free multi-language interpreter support service – including Auslan interpreters – ensuring it can be accessed by all Victorians.

Originally supported in response to the pressure the coronavirus pandemic placed on Victorians’ mental health, continued funding for Rainbow Door was a key recommendation from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s mental health system.

The Royal Commission highlighted research results from La Trobe University which identified LGBTIQ+ survey respondents reported far higher levels of psychological distress and suicidal ideation than the general population.

Many LGBTIQ+ Victorians also told the Royal Commission that they were reluctant to access mainstream mental health services and support due to poor past experiences.

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