New Headspace ambassador Georgie Stone has questioned Prime Minister Scott Morrison‘s push to eliminate suicide in Australia, saying his messaging on the transgender community could contribute to negative mental health outcomes.
Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald ahead of Headspace Day, the 19-year-old actress and advocate said the Prime Minister and his government works to “perpetuate those same mindsets and ideals that are the reason that the [suicide] statistics are so horrible.”
“If they actually want to do what they’re setting out to do, they need to look at themselves and their own attitudes and see what the message is that they are promoting and the effects that’s having,” she added.
She might have a point. Since he became top dog last year, Morrison has accused “gender whisperers” of influencing vulnerable children who question their identity, chucked a stink about gender-inclusive toilets in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, and chastised Cricket Australia for new guidelines regarding trans players at the grassroots level.
The argument here is that kind of public stance contributes to a culture which sees transgender Australians as second-class citizens, which is what actually contributes to negative mental health outcomes among the community.
Between 2015 and 2017, suicide was the leading cause of death for Australians aged between 15 and 44, with transgender individuals disproportionately impacted by the issue.
For his part, Morrison – who has pledged hundreds of millions of dollars towards lowering the youth suicide rate, including $52m for Headspace – told the SMH Australia’s suicide rate was too high among people facing the “pressures of identity politics.”
Addressing the factors which contribute to alienation and vilification of our most vulnerable communities will go a long way to alleviating the burden, and cultural touchstones have begun to celebrate trans Australians like Stone.
But a spot on Neighbours only goes so far, and Stone said it’s essential adults and figures like Morrison to make young people feel comfortable discussing their mental health.
Help is available.
If you require immediate assistance, please call 000.
If you are in distress, please call Lifeline on 13 11 44 or chat online.
Have something on your mind? You can reach out to BeyondBlue at 1300 22 4636 or chat online.
Under 25? You can reach Kids Helpline at 1800 55 1800 or chat online.