Implementing training specifically within LGBTIQA+ communities
Mental Health Month provides us a moment to reflect on the specific experiences and needs of LGBTIQA+ people – who, as growing research shows us, still experience a higher risk of distress, mental health concerns and suicide than non-LGBTIQA+ people. However, many feel less able or willing to access or engage with mainstream suicide prevention and support services, seeking instead LGBTIQA+ specific services, community or peer support; or not reaching out at all if they can’t find a “safe” option.
Recently, Twenty10 has contributed to the development of an LGBTI adaptation of ASIST – an internationally recognised 2-day suicide first aid skills workshop. We deliver this tailored ASIST as part of a range of training in Twenty10’s Community Connector Suicide Prevention program, funded as part of NSW Health’s community gatekeeper initiative. Our aim in this work is to build our communities confidence and capacity to understand and provide suicide first aid support.
This webinar will take the form of a dialogue, exploring the importance of providing tailored suicide first aid training and support specifically for, with and within LGBTIQA+ communities. We will reflect on our experiences and lessons learned from delivering the tailored ASIST, through a dialogue between Michelle Parker, a highly experienced ASIST trainer and two new ASIST trainers working together at Twenty10. Questions they will pose to each other include: ‘why is this work important to be done by and for our own communities?’; ‘why is it important to talk about suicide safer LGBTIQA+ communities?’; and ‘what are some reflections as an experienced/emerging facilitator in this space?’
Twenty10 inc GLCS NSW is Australia’s largest and longest running LGBTIQA+ organisation, working primarily with young people aged 12-25. They offer specialised services for youth across housing, mental health, counselling and social support. They are also the NSW State Partner for QLIife - Australia's only free, national and all ages LGBTIQA+ phone and web support service. Twenty10 also works in LGBTIQA+ community suicide prevention, delivers LGBTIQA+ inclusivity training, performs advocacy, and offers consulting for organisations and service providers across most sectors.
Michelle Parker lives on Dharawal country of the Yuin Nation. Michelle identifies as queer, a mum, a social worker, an educator and a human rights practitioner and has been working in the suicide prevention and response space for about 15 years.
Michelle delivers the LivingWorks ASIST and SafeTALK programs in a range of settings and has been involved in the LGBTQI+ overlay of ASIST. Michelle strongly believes that everyone can be of support to people thinking of suicide, we can all learn the skills we need to support each other, and be a part of the broader system to support people with thoughts of suicide, recognising that any of us at any time can have thoughts of suicide.
Fi Paskulich grew up way out west on Wadjuk Noongar country in Perth, and now lives and works on Gadigal country of the Eora Nation, in Sydney. They have provided support and training for Twenty10 inc. GLCSNSW volunteers for over 10 years on QLife, youth Drop In, adult groups, and various events. Fi has recently begun facilitating ASIST and other suicide-related training for LGBTIQA+ communities.
Fi is keen to create and protect spaces for community-based and peer-led support, finds joy in the absurd, and is constantly humbled by the resilience and capacity for care within our communities for each other during difficult times.
Claire Pettigrew is a facilitator, social justice educator and queer creative, working and living on Gadigal and Wangal land. Claire is responsible for Learning and Development within Twenty10, delivering community education to a wide range of audiences in the community, government, grass roots and corporate sectors. Focussing on LGBTIQA+ inclusivity and affirmative practice training, she is interested in challenging systemic oppression and driving cultural change. Claire also co-leads the LGBTIQA+ suicide prevention and intervention work of Twenty10.