Rainbow Women’s Help Seeking Behaviour

Presentation Type: Oral
Conference Stream: Mental Health and Suicide Prevention
Presenter: Ruth McNair
Presentation Title: Rainbow Women’s Help Seeking Behaviour – diverse beliefs, intentions and experiences
Room: Murray
Program schedule: Friday 14 August 2015 at 15:00
Duration: 20 mins


This beyondblue funded project aimed to understand the help-seeking behaviour of a wide range of same-sex attracted women (SSAW), particularly in the context of their mental health. We know that SSAW have higher rates of depression, anxiety and substance use than heterosexual women. However, despite accessing health services at higher rates for these issues, there is still a high level of unmet needs. There has been very little exploration of the experiences of health and social care amongst different sub-groups of SSAW, nor of their preferences for the types of help-seeking or targeted messages and services. The project conducted interviews with several LGBT community leaders and service providers, ran a national online survey and a series of focus groups with SSAW. Results will be presented on the differences in beliefs, intentions, and experiences regarding help seeking amongst lesbian, bisexual, queer, trans and other-identified women.

Preferences for mainstream versus LGBT specific services, for professional versus self-help approaches, and for mainstream versus complementary services will be outlined. Various sub-groups were identified that display further differences related to their cultural diversity, age and location of residence. Key messages to enable help seeking were identified for different sub-groups. Discussion will follow on how these messages can be included in targeted health promotion for diverse groups of same-sex attracted women. Ultimately such targeting will improve the health and wellbeing of SSAW.

Presentation slides (PDF)