09 January 2010


beyondblue, the organisation set up by Victorian ex-premier Jeff Kennett about 10 years ago to assist people suffering from depression and/or ideation of suicide, has yet again shown that its homophobia takes precedence over its stated mandate to assist those in dire circumstances.

Jeff Kennett himself is a leading homophobe and the current CEO of beyondblue, Leonie Young, is showing herself to be Kennett's equal.

Two articles about beyondblue are in the Southern Star issue 065 of 7 January 2010 and they contradict each other. Leonie Young is talking with her tongue in her cheek when dealing with different groups in the gay, lesbian, transgender and HIV/AIDS communities.

The two articles are below, and illustrate where beyondblue's sympathies really lie, and they are not with our communities and those in our communities who are in desperate need of somewhere to go for assistance when their lives become dangerously in the balance.

Third strike-out for WayOut

Andie Noonan
6 January 2010

A proposal for funding to research depression in same-sex attracted young people has been rejected for the third time by national depression initiative beyondblue.
The draft submission was put forward by the WayOut Youth Project earlier in 2009, however, the group was notified it was unsuccessful just two weeks before the peak depression body held a roundtable meeting into GLBTI mental health issues in Melbourne on December 17.

WayOut coordinator Sue Hackney told Southern Star she had been informed, despite working closely with beyondblue staff on the proposal, the application did not meet beyondblue’s guidelines.

“It’s extremely frustrating because for the previous two months I’ve been working in close consultation with [beyondblue] staff to ensure our application was meeting their guidelines as it was going through various draft stages,” Hackney said.
“It’s very similar to the previous two occasions … and then being told with no or a very vague explanation that it’s been unsuccessful.”

Since 2004 WayOut has submitted three applications for funding, including requesting a $25,000 annual grant in 2005 and another application in 2006.

Hackney said the most recent proposal for $100,000 for two to three years included research in partnership with the Australian Research Centre for Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS), youth suicide prevention group the Inspire Foundation, the Foundation For Young Australians and several other groups.

“I’m getting extremely frustrated and finding it difficult to understand how the organisation works because clearly there is a breakdown in the information they’re giving out to organisations such as ourselves,” Hackney said.

Beyondblue CEO Leonie Young told Southern Star the proposal had been turned down because it did not meet beyondblue’s research guidelines and included money for servicing rather than research or evaluation.

“The proposal that was put forward included some evaluation, but it was also for other matters that related to services and that’s the part we can’t fund and it’s always been so,” Young said.

“We don’t fund camps or administration or cars, or services. We fund research, we fund evaluation… there was a component related to evaluation, but it wasn’t a research proposal. It was around supporting, which is entirely outside the funding we have, it was for the youth services itself.”

Young said youth services funding is the responsibility of state and territory governments and she’s had preliminary discussions with the ARCSHS to develop a GLBT research-only proposal for the next funding round in March.

Recently WayOut received $30,000 annual funding from the state Government, as a result of a concerted push from the GLBTI ministerial advisory council and gay rights advocate Rob Mitchell. Hackney said this won’t cover costs, with the WayOut Rural Youth Council grant winding up in February.

Hackney expressed frustration last year at WayOut’s constant struggle for funding after three gay youth suicides in rural Victoria in 2009.

Beyondblue commits to GLBTI community

Scott Abrahams
6 January 2010

Beyondblue says it is committed to targeting depression and anxiety in the GLBTI community but said other sectors need to be involved in tackling the issues.
Following a recent beyondblue GLBTI roundtable involving representatives from national mental health, drug and alcohol, and suicide prevention strategies, beyondblue CEO Leonie Young told the Star beyondblue will put a focus on GLBTI depression and anxiety but an ‘all in’ approach is required.

“It’s not just beyondblue and I really want to stress that while we put the roundtable on to hear more and work in collaboration with the GLBT sector… it isn’t a one-agency response that’s required,” Young said.

“While we’re good to step up and provide the opportunity for the discussion, we’ll be expecting to work with all the other agencies as we go forward, so while I’m good to commit beyondblue to ‘x’ dollars over ‘x’ period of time… it really will take others.”

Young confirmed a figure of $2 million over 18 months as a “potential” amount the national depression initiative could throw into the area.

“We’re collaborating, we’re reviewing beyondblue’s own material, we’re identifying research priorities for 2010 and we’ll put funding to that,” she said.
Young said beyondblue has committed in the short term to meet with the LGBT Health Alliance in January to thrash out a more detailed strategy.

An awareness campaign for GLBTI health — and, later, a GLBTI mental health ambassador — has also been foreshadowed.

“[We’ll] look at the research again. From that research we need a multipronged, early intervention prevention model, particularly focused on young people living in rural communities. That was one of the priority areas that came out,” Young said.
LGBT Health Alliance CEO Gabi Rosenstreich told the Star she was “cautiously positive” the roundtable secured a way forward for GLBT mental health in Australia.
“I would say it’s a really positive sign that beyondblue does seem to be taking on the critiques that have been made from the LGBT community seriously and is responding,” Rosenstreich said.

“It will remain to be seen what develops out of that.
“We’ll be working together with our members and other community organisations to turn beyondblue’s commitments into reality.”

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90 years old, political gay activist, hosting two web sites, one personal: http://www.red-jos.net one shared with my partner, 94-year-old Ken Lovett: http://www.josken.net and also this blog. The blog now has an alphabetical index: http://www.red-jos.net/alpha3.htm