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The Suicide Closet: Effective suicide interventions for LGBTTIQA+ people - Christchurch

“Services will be responsive to people from different cultural backgrounds, life experiences and perspectives, for example, …Rainbow communities. All services will respect the cultural, gender and sexual orientation needs of the people being supported.”

He Ara Oranga Report of Government Enquiry into Mental Health and Addiction

Recent studies show that mainstream services in New Zealand have not significantly improved in their service delivery to clients who are members of the rainbow communities (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Takatāpui, Transgender, Intersex, Queer, Asexual - LGBTTIQA+). Many clinicians still fail to ask about gender or sexuality nor take into account the significance of these factors in assessing suicide risk.

Many LGBTTIQA+ people using mainstream services report feeling unsafe or that issues relating to their sexuality or gender are either stereotyped or misunderstood, adding extra stress in a time of acute distress.

Not all suicide risk factors are the same. Evidence shows that rainbow community members have additional risk factors that need to be considered in undertaking an assessment of suicide of risk.

Learn how the impact of discrimination, heteronormative assumptions, unconscious bias, internalised homo/bi/trans phobia heightens suicide risk and can impact on the therapeutic relationship.

With the current redesign of mental health and addiction services in this country, this is an opportune time to ensure that workers are LGBTTIQA+ suicide responsive.

Evaluation of this workshop shows that attendance is of benefit for LGBTTIQA+ service providers and workers in mental health, addiction, primary health, social and community services, education, youth sectors. Clinicians and support workers in DHB, PHO & NGO mental health services, Kauapapa Māori, Pasifika and primary mental health and addiction services are strongly encouraged to attend.

An advanced professional development opportunities with award winning and internationally recognised suicide prevention practitioner, Barry Taylor

Studies have shown that for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, takatāpui, intersex, queer/questioning, asexual and people of other diverse sexual and gender identifications (LGBTTIQA+ people) suicidal thinking, attempts and deaths are far more common than in the broader population. Transgender people have one of the highest risk of suicide among all subpopulations.

There are identified additional risk factors for suicide which often are far more influential in determining suicide therefore the use of a generic risk assessment tool may not assess accurately the suicide risk or acuity in an LGBTTIQA+ person.

This workshop provides participants the opportunity to gain insights and a theoretical analysis of the social and psychological determinants that influence suicide risk in LGBTTIQA+ people so to ensure that they undertake an accurate assessment.

Based on considered practice wisdom on working with LGBTTIQA+ people, the workshop will cover strategies that counsellors need to consider when providing crisis intervention or longer-term counselling or support with LGBTTIQA+ people experiencing suicidal ideation or behaviour. One critical factor is the importance that workers have a good understanding of how hetero and gender normative assumptions and unconscious bias can impact on the therapeutic relationship.

Learning Outcomes

​Workshop participants will be:

  • Knowledgeable of the social and psychological determinants that contribute to suicide risk and behaviour in LGBTTIQA+ people
  • Familiar with specific LGBTTIQA+ risk and protective factors to consider in a suicide risk assessment
  • Conscious of LGBTTIQA+ specific dynamics that may affect crisis interventions and longer-term support or clinical interventions with LGBTTIQA+ people experiencing suicidal ideation or behaviour
  • Cognisant of the grief issues and suicide contagion risk for LGBTTIQA+ people bereaved by suicide

​Topics covered:

  • Suicide in LGBTTIQA+ people – What is it and how is it explained
  • The role of social determinants in contributing to poor mental health outcomes and suicidality in LGBTTIQA+ people
  • Not all the same - understanding intersectionality of age, gender, cultural differences and ableness in LGBTTIQA+ suicide
  • Risk and Protective Factors for suicide in LGBTTIQA+ people – Additional considerations when undertaking suicide risk assessment in LGBTTIQA+ people
  • Unconscious bias and heteronormative assumptions and the therapeutic relationship
  • Intervention and support - Issues to consider when working with LGBTTIQA+ people experiencing suicidal ideation or behaviour.
  • Suicide contagion in LGBTTIQA+ communities

Work with rainbow communities to develop guidance on inclusive suicide prevention practices Action Area 6 He Tapu o te Oranga o ia tangata / Every Life Matters

Previous participants' feedback

“The easy to understand explanations of trans and intersex was most helpful and shed light on the experiences of groups that I knew little about” Clinical Psychologist

“Your openness and style of presentation created a safe environment to ask questions and for honest group discussion” Mental Health Nurse

“I wish there had been a course like this when I first started working in mental health. I have learnt so much” Social Worker

“Leaving even more determined to ensure my school is a safe place for our LGBTI students” School Counsellor

An opportunity for a day of learning with internationally respected suicidologist, Barry Taylor

Barry has proven leadership over 30 years at local, national and international levels in using community initiatives and strength-based approaches to improve individual and community wellbeing and the prevention of suicide. He has extensive experience in the development, implementation and evaluation of programmes at the local and national level, especially creating collaborative partnerships to prevent or respond to suicide.

Barry has been a long term and passionate advocate of LGBTTIQA+ awareness within the field of suicide prevention. In the 1980s, he wrote the first ever New Zealand policy paper on suicide in gay and lesbian youth. He was instrumental in the establishment of the gay and lesbian youth groups throughout New Zealand and lead the organisation the country's first national gay youth conference. He has sat on the boards go national and international LGBTTIQA+ organisations. In 2011 he headed up MindOUT: LGBTI mental health and suicide prevention project in Australia. This project was a world first, with funding from a national suicide prevention strategy been specifically allocated for a national co-ordinated response to LGBTI suicide prevention and mental health.

He has advised governments on LGBTTIQA+ suicide prevention and wellbeing. As a health sociologist he has had an interest on the impact of social exclusion, discrimination on wellbeing and advocates for a human rights approach to wellbeing.