Youth Projects Receives Significant Mental Health Grant to Expand Supports for LGBTIQA+ Youth in Melbourne's Western Suburbs Wednesday 31 January 2023 Youth Projects is proud to announce that it has been awarded a substantial grant of $239,968 from the Victorian Department of Health's 2023-25 Diverse Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Grants Program to expand supports for LGBTIQA+ youth in Melbourne’s western suburbs. This grant will facilitate the launch of a new, Queer Psychosocial Outreach Program (QPOP) - an initiative aimed at providing essential support LGBTIQA+ youth aged 12-24, specifically those with varying abilities such as autism, ADHD and psychosocial challenges, in Melbourne's western suburbs. In 2023, Youth Projects canvassed 20 key mental health service providers across Melbourne and reported an average wait time of 8 weeks – with some reporting up to a 12 week wait – to access youth-specialist mental health and early intervention services. Although there is a significant reform agenda in place for the state’s mental health system, there has been very little additional support implemented to meet young people where they are at. Community mental health supports delivering psychosocial programs are very few and far between - QPOP is designed to address this. The QPOP program, scheduled to commence in March 2024, aims to initially support 80 young people with plans to evaluate, scale and increase this support in coming years. "In the face of the ongoing youth mental health crisis and prolonged waitlists for support services, Youth Projects is scaling up accessible and impactful programs at a grassroots level," said Ben Vasiliou, CEO of Youth Projects. QPOP extends on Youth Projects’ proven youth outreach model to address the unique challenges faced by LGBTIQA+ youth, providing early intervention and tailored support to foster inclusion, build resilience, and improve overall mental health and well-being. "This grant will allow us to expand our reach, find young people who are not connected with the service system, intervene early, and address the specific needs of LGBTIQA+ youth in Melbourne's west, creating a supportive and validating environment for young LGBTIQA+ folk. What we know is there is not sufficient support in community, or even for those in acute distress, to learn how to manage their mental health. We’re going to do just that, whilst also building self-esteem, confidence, independence and provider pathways to greater social and economic inclusion,” shares Ben Vasiliou, CEO of Youth Projects. This grant is part of the Victorian Government's $9.6 million investment over four years in the 2023 – 2025 Diverse Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Grants Program. Youth Projects has been selected for its high impact work delivering a wide range of programs, services, advocacy, research and workforce development – recognising the organisation’s important role in supporting mental health at a grassroots level. For more information or to support this initiative, please visit: youthprojects.org.au/queer-psychosocial-outreach-program-qpop Read the Victorian Government’s full announcement: https://www.premier.vic.gov.au/more-mental-health-grants-boost-diverse-communities For any media enquiries, please contact our Marketing & Communications Manager via [email protected] or 0458 911 299.