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Support services for LGBTIQ members of the legal profession

Support services for LGBTIQ members of the legal profession

By Law Institute of Victoria

LGBTIQ Marriage Equality Wellbeing 

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The LIV recognises that legal professionals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex or queer (LGBTIQ) may be affected by the negative campaigning following the recent attention to marriage equality ahead of the postal survey on 12 September 2017. The LIV wishes to inform LGBTIQ members of some of the support services available to lawyers who may be experiencing any mental health issues as a result of these campaigns.

  1. General support services

There are many general support services available in Australia both national and state-based that are available to assist people who are suffering or may suffer from mental health issues. Some of these support services include:

  • beyondblue: a non-profit organisation that aims to increase awareness and understanding of mental health issues, such as, depression and anxiety. The organisation has many services including online forums, a support line, and other helpful information to assist LGBTIQ persons and allies. Beyond Blue is also committed to working with people who identify as LGBTIQ and works with the National LGBTI Health Alliance.

Details: you can access the beyondblue website for further information. You can also speak to someone from the beyondblue support service by contacting 1300 22 4636.

  • Headspace: the National Youth Mental Health Foundation, which focuses on promoting the wellbeing of young people. The service offers early intervention mental health services to 12 – 25 year olds.  Headspace may be a beneficial service for young members of the legal profession as well as law students. Headspace has online chat services, frequently runs events (some of which are dedicated to the LGBTIQ community), and are contactable on the phone.

Details: you can access the Headspace website for further information.  You can also speak to someone from Headspace by contacting 1800 650 890.

  • Lifeline: an Australian charity that aims to save lives, offer support during crisis and stop the increasing number of deaths due to suicide. Lifeline provides 24/7 information and support services online.

Details: you can access the Lifeline website. Alternatively you can  speak to someone directly by calling 13 11 14.

  • Sane Australia: a national charity helping all Australians affected by mental illness. Sane Australia has a help centre which consists of a national online and freecall service, which provides support services and referral to people concerned about their mental health.  Sane Australia also hosts a forum which provides the community with peer support, and frequently produces facts & guides which provides information on mental health for persons affected and their loved ones and friends.

Details: you can access the Sane Australia website and find out more about its services. Alternatively, you can speak with a member of their support line by contacting 1800 187 263.

 

  1. LGBTIQ-focused support services

In addition to the generalist mental health support services above, there are a number of LGBTIQ-specific mental health services which may be able to assist you with any mental health issues you may be facing as a result of the postal survey and the associated negative campaigning. Some of these support services include:

  • National LGBTI Health Alliance: the national peak health organisation in Australia for organisations and individuals. It provides health-related programs and services, and conducts research that focuses on LGBTI and other sex, gender, and bodily diverse people and communities.

Details: visit the website to access more information about the National LGTBI Health Alliance.

  • Qlife: Australia’s national counselling and referral service for LGBTI people. The project provides nation-wide, early intervention, peer supported telephone and web-based services to diverse people of all ages experiencing poor mental health, psychological distress, social isolation, and discrimination on the basis of gender and/or other social determinants that impact on health and wellbeing.

Details:  visit the website for more information on Qlife. Alternatively, you can contact Qlife between 3:00pm and 12:00am on 1800 184 527.

  • Switchboard:  a support service for gender-diverse, sex-diverse and same-sex attracted communities, and their supporters, through telephone and web-based counselling services. Their service is caller-centred, non-judgmental, confidential and anonymous.  They affirm experiences and aspirations, and support the general health and wellbeing of persons who identify as LGBTI.

Details: For more information on Switchboard, please visit their website. You can also access online chat support between 3:00pm and 12:00am 7 days a week or contact Switchboard on 1800 185 527.

  • Queerspace at Drummond Street Services: provides a safe and supportive space to obtain information and support services aimed at improving mental health and wellbeing by specialist queer and queer affirmative mental health practitioners.  Queerspace offers a pathway to care that includes counselling for individuals and families experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, alcohol abuse and drug use.

Details: you can access more information about Queerspace by visiting their website.

 

  1. Converge International, a service for members of the LIV

The LIV has partnered with Converge International to provide members with an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to help deal with the challenges, concerns or issues that may be affecting  members at work or at home.

Converge International offers a confidential, personal coaching and counselling service that provides support for a variety of short-term, personal or work issues. This service gives members access to qualified professionals including psychologists, social workers and management coaches.

Members can access the EAP free of charge for up to three hours per issue per year.  Confidentiality is assured and personal details will not be passed on to anyone at the LIV.

To access this service call 1300 687 327. You can arrange to speak with a consultant over the phone or meet face to face. Consultations can be conducted at Converge International sessional offices throughout metropolitan and regional Australia.
 

  1. Health and wellbeing of LIV members

The health and wellbeing of our members is of the utmost importance to the LIV. At times, members may encounter personal and professional problems which can impact their health and wellbeing. Studies, both in Australia and internationally, indicate that lawyers, compared with other professions, are at particular risk. The prevalence of mental health issues within the legal profession, both at a graduate and practising level is increasing, manifesting in various forms, ranging from workplace and personal stress to alcohol/substance abuse and depression.

The LIV encourages members and allies of the LGBTIQ community affected by the postal survey to reach out to any of the services above if they are concerned about their mental health or the mental health of their peers, friends or loved ones.



 


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