The ACT Government has today released nation leading guidance to help practitioners provide more supportive mental health services for trans and gender diverse Canberrans.
Developed as a collaboration between the ACT Government, A Gender Agenda and Meridian, Guidance to support gender affirming care for mental health is a resource for all practitioners who provide mental health support and services.
Minister for Mental Health Emma Davidson said the guidance would help reduce some of the barriers that trans and gender diverse Canberrans face when seeking mental health support.
“These guidelines will make our mental health system more accessible, inclusive and equitable for more Canberrans. Around half of the trans and gender diverse population will experience anxiety or depression at some point in their lives so through this guideline, we will remove some of the barriers that exist when accessing or navigating the mental health system,” Minister Davidson said.
“The great thing about these guidelines is that they were co-designed with the trans and gender diverse community. It is community led to ensure that the needs and barriers the community faces are appropriately addressed so more people receive better mental health care experiences and with a practitioner who is knowledgeable about gender diverse and transgender health care.”
“When people receive gender affirming care, they feel supported, respected and heard. The guidelines ensure health professionals and services add to their skills to better support the needs, identities, and life experiences of trans and gender diverse people.
The guidelines will help anyone delivering mental health care provide improved knowledge and delivery of care by understanding who trans and gender diverse people are, what kind of care they might provide and resources explaining how to deliver support and clinical care in a gender affirming way. This includes linking practitioners and mental health care workers with relevant legislation, knowledge and training.
Over the coming months A Gender Agenda will deliver targeted training to health care providers to outline the key messages of the guidance and how to provide gender affirming care to those seeking support for their mental health.
As stated by Dr Elizabeth Moore, Coordinator-General Office for Mental Health and Wellbeing:
“Working with the trans and gender diverse community, and the professionals and organisations who support them, has resulted in this pragmatic advice which will make a difference to people wanting to access care.”
As stated by Jenni Shoring, Operations Manager at A Gender Agenda:
“The guidelines set expectations for professionals to ensure that they are supportive and affirming of a vulnerable community. They work to create a safe and positive environment, and experience for transgender and gender diverse people.”
As stated by Phillipa Moss, CEO at Meridian:
“These guidelines are an essential part of supporting the self-determination of trans and gender diverse people in the delivery of their health care. The guidelines highlight the need for practitioners to take proactive steps in delivering health care that does not rely on trans and gender diverse people educating health professionals. These guidelines show the resilience and strength of trans and gender diverse people in advocating for appropriate, safe and respectful access to health services.”