Neami National was one of the only mainstream mental health organisations represented at last week’s Better Together Conference in Melbourne. The Better Together Conference explores current issues facing the LGBTIQ movement, bringing together voices from Indigenous rights, people of colour, people living with disability, the Deaf community, and multicultural and faith groups. This year the conference was attended by over 600 people.
Innovation and Projects Manager Katie Larsen gave a presentation on Neami’s commitment to building an LGBTIQ-inclusive service through our Diversity and Inclusion Framework.
While it is well understood that people who identify as LGBTIQ experience disproportionately high rates of psychological distress and suicide, they remain consistently underrepresented within mainstream mental health programs. Katie’s presentation looked at how design for social change can be undertaken in a way that challenges power structures and supports improved service access and organisational leadership across LGBTIQ and other marginalised groups. Katie presented reflections on Neami’s own approach and led an interactive workshop. The workshop sought feedback from the LGBTIQ community members and advocates in attendance about considerations needed to achieve safe, welcoming and accessible service environments.
Neami's first Diversity and Inclusion Framework was launched in November last year. Neami understands that in order to achieve safe, accessible and culturally responsive service environments and workplaces, it must take a whole-of-organisation approach that celebrates, values and includes people of all backgrounds, identities, cultures and experiences. As a specialist in mental health support and recovery, Neami has an obligation to recognise and respond to the disproportionately high rates of mental illness and psychological distress amongst marginalised populations and communities. The Framework is supported by a range of Diversity and Inclusion resources, activities and guidelines for Neami staff.