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Rainbow Bridges: LGBTIQA+ and CALD community

23 Mar 2021

What is the Rainbow Bridges project?

headspace Werribee, in conjunction with headspace Sunshine and headspace Glenroy, is running the Rainbow Bridges Project; an LGBTIQA+ youth peer-led scoping project that seeks to identify the unique needs of CALD LGBTIQA+** young people and their families in the Wyndham area.

*CALD stands for 'culturally and linguistically diverse' - people who come from different cultural backgrounds, or speak languages other than English.

**LGBTIQA+ stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer/Questioning, Asexual, and other gender or sexuality diversity.


Why do we need this project?

  • The Wyndham area is one of the most culturally diverse areas of Australia, with 47.2% of its residents born overseas in over 162 countries.
  • LGBTIQA+ young people have significantly higher levels of suicidality, depression and substance misuse. Despite the increased vulnerability of LGBTIQA+ young people to suffer poorer mental health and social outcomes, factors such as stigma, shame and embarrassment act as personal barriers to seeking support and accessing mental health services.
  • LGBTIQA+ young people from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse backgrounds often experience additional stressors associated with race-based discrimination and significant conflict between their culture and their gender or sexuality.
  • There is a lack of understanding and resources for CALD LGBTIQA+ young people around accessing mental health services.


What are the aims of the project?

  • Increase the inclusivity of our services and resources for CALD LGBTIQA+ young people and their friends and families. This will help CALD LGBTIQA+ young people build very important positive and supportive social and family connections that will act as a protective factor against suicide and mental ill-health.
  • Inform and shape community awareness strategies to help increase engagement of the most prevalent CALD communities within Wyndham (e.g. Indian, Chinese, Filipino) and address the stigma that might prevent CALD LGBTIQA+ young people from seeking help and thus, not receiving support for their mental health challenges.
  • Enhance LGBTIQA+ youth participation through establishing a LGBTIQA+ youth leadership group that can exist beyond the life of the project, and which can continue to work alongside the centre staff to improve LGBTIQA+ young people’s safe and accessible access to care.


What will the project involve?

The Rainbow Bridges Leadership Group (RBLG)

The RBLG consists of 8 young community members from Brimbank, Wyndham and Moonee Valley areas who identify as LGBTIQA+. The RBLG will be the leads in co-design community consultation with CALD LGBTIQA+ young people to hear their stories and identify priority needs. Armed with these valuable community stories, the RBLG will co-design strategies, alongside representatives from the community awareness and clinical teams, to increase the relevance of community awareness activities, clinical practice and support for CALD LGBTIQA+ young people and their family. 


CALD x LGBTIQA+ Young People - Consultation

As part of the project, members of our RBLG will consult with young people in the community from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse backgrounds who identify as LGBTIQA+. The consultations will take about 1 hour and you will be speaking with other young people about your experiences and what you think would help you or support your mental health. 


How can you help?

headspace Werribee wants to hear your experience living as an LGBTIQA+ young person from a culturally and linguistically diverse background. We appreciate that this is an incredibly nuanced and complex community to be a part of, and we want to better understand it! We hope that from your insight, we are better able to provide accessible and inclusive mental health services for our diverse community. 

Click here to register your interest in being part of the project. To say thanks for sharing your story, you'll receive a gift card for your time.

If you have any questions, please contact Emily on 8001 2366, or email and we'll get in touch with you!