​At a glance

“Despite increasing acceptance of difference over the last few decades, people who are same-sex attracted (gay, lesbian and bisexual), people who are transgender, and people who are intersex, still face stigma and discrimination resulting from ingrained cultural attitudes about sexuality, gender and sex diversity in Australia.” (Beyond Blue)

When providing mental health support for LGBTIQA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer/questioning, asexual and many other terms) people, like anyone, the most important thing is to see each individual as a person-first, with their own individual beliefs, culture and goals.

When supporting LGBTIQA+ people it is important to:

  • recognise the diversity (sexuality, sex or gender) in all people
  • respect people’s rights to choose their own gender
  • use gender neutral language, where appropriate
  • use a person’s preferred pronoun
  • show empathy for the impact that stigma, discrimination and prejudice might have
  • acknowledge that trauma may be a factor for LGBTIQA+
  • remember that race, ethnicity, religion, age, class and professional identities will be important in understanding any support needs.

Avoid making assumptions about the gender or sexual preference of the people that you support.

- A person with lived experience of a mental health condition

Your support should include:

  • a recovery-oriented approach: focussing on the person and their strengths, and not the condition
  • a holistic approach: considering physical, psychological, social and spiritual wellbeing
  • a person-centred approach: planning and decisions are driven by the person and their needs, interests and goals
  • a trauma-informed approach: providing support in a way that shows knowledge and understanding of how trauma affects people’s lives and service needs
  • empowerment: encouraging people to take control of their lives.

Workers should respect a LGBTIQA+ person’s privacy, but also be open to talking with LGBTIQA+ people about their identity and supporting the person to explore their identity if that is what they want.

- A person with lived experience of a mental health condition

Each LGBTIQA+ person will be different. It is important to avoid stereotyping. Listen, ask, clarify, and build trust by being respectful, reliable and honest.


LGBTIQ People Talk About Their Experiences Accessing Health Care
In this video LGBTIQ people talk about their experiences with stigma and discrimination when accessing health care.
Type: Video | Closed captions
Viewing time: 5:52 minutes
Produced by: North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network

Mental health and being LGBTQ | Christine's Mental Health Story
In this video, Christine tells her story: "If you’re gay and you’re suffering from a mental health issue… things seem to be a lot darker".
Type: Video | Closed captions
Reading/viewing time: 4:47
Produced by: Mind, the mental health charity

A national framework for recovery-oriented mental health services: guide for practitioners and providers
A link to the National Framework for Recovery-oriented Mental Health Services highlighting recovery-oriented mental health practice and service delivery for LGBTIQ+ people.
Type: Guideline
Produced by: Australian Department of Health

Considerations when providing mental health first aid to an LGBTIQ+ person
This fact sheet provides mental health first aid, covering understanding LGBTIQ+ experiences, acceptable language and terminology.
Type: Fact sheet
Length: 6 pages
Produced by: Mental Health First Aid Australia

Here for health
This site provides information about the range of services available to support LGBTI people, including around mental health.
Type: Web page
Reading time: 10 pages
Produced by: ACON

Current as at: Tuesday 15 November 2022
Contact page owner: Mental Health