‘Long overdue’: Government’s $4 million funding for Rainbow community wellbeing

The Government has announced $4 million in funding to support the wellbeing of young members of the Rainbow community. Photo / Peter Meecham

The Government is providing $4 million to services that provide mental health support to young members of New Zealand’s Rainbow community.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has made the announcement before her appearance at the Big Gay Out at Auckland’s Coyle Park this afternoon.

“The Government is committed to improving mental health outcomes for children and young people in our Rainbow communities,” Ardern said.

“Young people in the Rainbow community are at greater risk of being discriminated against, bullied and harassed. As a result they have poorer physical and mental health and addiction outcomes and are at greater risk of suicide. We need to change that.

“Participants in the Counting Ourselves survey who are trans or non-binary were twice as likely to have attempted suicide in the past year than participants who did not report that discrimination.”

Ardern added the move was a “long overdue commitment to some of our most vulnerable youth”.

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“It will take a range of actions to better help young people in distress but guaranteeing funding to the mental health services they use is an important step towards improving the wellbeing of our Rainbow communities,” Ardern said.

Most of the money – $3.2m – will be used to expand mental wellbeing services focusing on young Rainbow New Zealanders.

The rest will top up the existing Rainbow Wellbeing Legacy Fund, which was established as an acknowledgement of those New Zealanders who were convicted for homosexual acts before the law was changed in 1986.

The total package will be spread over four years.

Today’s Big Gay Out, at Coyle Park, Pt Chevalier, begins with a blessing at 12.10pm.

Thousands are expected and entertainment includes a range of bands, DJs and a variety show.