LGBTTIQA+ / Rainbow Mental Wellbeing and Suicide Prevention





Standing Strong: Mental health, suicide prevention and mental wellbeing for LGBTTIQA+/Rainbow people Workshop Series

Designed specifically for those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, takatāpui, transgender, intersex, queer, asexual and other expressions of diverse sexuality and gender. These practical workshops give insights into why we as LGBTTIQA+/Rainbow people experience more mental health issues, provides some practical suggestions about what we can to do to enhance our wellbeing and strategies to look after ourselves and others in our communities who are experiencing suicidal thinking, emotional distress, depression or anxiety.

These workshops are delivered on request.  Please contact Barry Taylor to discuss the possibility of having any of the workshops being delivered in your organisation or community. The workshop can be adapted to develop a tailor-made training programme to meet your community’s or organisation’s specific needs. The workshops can be delivered at weekends.

Workshop 1:    Rainbow Blues

While depression and anxiety are generally becoming a more common experience in people’s lives, for LGBTTIQA+/Rainbow people the rates of depression and anxiety are significantly higher.

For those experiencing the depression, their friends and partners, it can be a bewildering and frustrating time. This workshop provides some insights into understanding depression and anxiety, why it seems to affect more LGBTTIQA+/Rainbow people; helpful hints on living with depression and how to support someone who is depressed or has an anxiety disorder.

  • Increase your knowledge about depression and anxiety and how it impacts on a person’s well-being and their ability to function

  • Understand depression and anxiety from our lived experience of being lesbian, gay, bisexual, takatāpui, transgender, intersex, queer or asexual.

  • Be equipped with strategies on how to live with depression or anxiety

  • Feel more confident and competent in supporting someone who is depressed or has anxiety


Topics covered:

  • Sad, Miserable or Depressed: What’s the Difference

  • Understanding Depression and Anxiety

  • Living our Rainbow lives and the impacts on our mental wellbeing

  • Depressed but not defeated: Strategies for living with depression

  • Being there:  Supporting those we care about who live with depression


Target Audience:

LGBTTIQA+/Rainbow people who are living with depression and/or anxiety, along with their partners, friends, family and support people.


Workshop Length:     Minimum of three hours.

Workshop 2: Our Lives Matter: LGBTTIQA+ Action for preventing and responding to suicide in our communities

The suicide of someone has a devastating impact for all those connected the person.  It is known that for LGBTTIQA+/Rainbow people, suicide is far more common than in the broader population. While challenging there are things that we in the LGBTTIQA+/Rainbow communities can do.


Workshop 3:    Proud and Thriving: Wellbeing for LGBTTIQA+ people

A two day participatory workshop for those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, takatāpui, transgender, intersex, queer, asexual and other expressions of diverse sexuality and gender.

Our journeys to wellbeing as LGBTTIQA+ people can often take many different paths. Like many others who have experienced marginalization or discrimination, we have had to navigate through ignorance, prejudice and at times hatred or violence in order for us to be true to ourselves. These experiences can have a long term impact on how we see and value ourselves, the relationships we have and our overall physical, emotional and mental health. The over-representation of LGBTTIQA+ people in poor mental health and suicide statistics indicates that there is still much to be done to improve our wellbeing and resilience at both the individual and community levels.

Drawing on the a holistic model of wellbeing and using a critique of heteronormative models of wellbeing, the workshop provides an opportunity to discuss, share and learn about how we can incorporate wellbeing practices in our lives. Using narrative techniques we will make the links between our experience and internalizing of factors such as homo/trans phobia, how we experience perceptions of ourselves now and its impact on our wellbeing and the relationships in our lives.

Workshop covers:

  • A strength-based inclusive vision for wellbeing

  • Wellbeing for us as LGBTTIQA+ people – What do we need to maximise our wellbeing?

  • Proud and thriving – our journeys of coming into our true selves

  • Intersections of our lives – where sexuality, gender identity, culture, age and ableness meet

  • The journey to self-loving – the impact of internalised homo/trans phobia

  • Fearful no more – Navigating the world of homo / transphobia, personal and institutional discrimination

  • Victims no more – claiming our self determination

  • We are all just a little bit fucked – living and celebrating our flaws and living with others and cherishing their flaws – steps to healthy relationships

  • Minority stress – what is it and what we can do about it

  • Trauma: understanding the impact of trauma in our lives and strategies to respond to the trauma

    • Coming out related trauma

    • Hate speech and hate crime

    • Violence

    • Abuse

  • The Wheel of Wellbeing – Incorporating wellbeing practices into our daily life

Target Audience:        LGBTTIQA+/Rainbow community members and leaders, friends, family and support people.

Workshop Length:     The workshop is best delivered as a 2 day workshop to allow the most for group participation and engaging in the process but can be delivered in a day.




Equal Not the Same: LGBTTIQA+ inclusive Practice

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, takatāpui, transgender, intersex, queer/questioning, asexual and people of other diverse sexual and gender identifications (LGBTTIQA+) people are over represented in the statistics for people living with a mental illness, an addiction or have died by suicide. Given there are no dedicated LGBTTIQA+ mental health or addictions services in Aotearoa, it is essential that mainstream services, mental health NGO organisations, student health and counselling services and private counselling practitioners ensure that their services and programmes are LGBTTIQA+ inclusive.

LGBTTIQA+ people report that their experience of mainstream services is that they are not inclusive and operate mainly from a heteronormative worldview. They often felt vulnerable in disclosing issues around their sexuality or gender and often had to educate the clinicians and counsellors about sexuality or gender diversity. Despite various mental health, addiction and suicide prevention action plans identifying LGBTTIQA+ as priority, there has not translated into actions to improve responsiveness of services.


Two surveys of LGBTTIQA+ service users, conducted 10 years apart, would suggest that there has not been a significant improvement in the inclusivity and responsiveness of mental health and addiction services. In the most recent survey, the numbers of rainbow service users reporting that the services were heteronormative in their approach or that the clinicians were not very knowledgeable of the lived experience of LGBTTIQA+ people had not reduced. Those from diverse sex and gender identities reported high levels of vulnerability in discussing issues around their gender and that often clinicians pathologised their gender or sex diversity.


A common view held within services is that there is no need for targeted programmes for specific populations as the service “treats everyone the same.” This workshop will define clearly what is meant by inclusive practice for LGBTTIQA+ people and put forward the rationale as to why mainstream services need to consider their responsiveness to LGBTTIQA+ population. Participants will apply the principles inclusiveness from the perspectives of organisational inclusiveness and clinical practice.


Developed by the presenter as part of the MindOUT LGBTI Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Project in Australia, the content of the workshop is based on the latest evidence and thinking and has been peer audited by leading international thinkers and clinicians. It has been delivered to mental health and addiction services across Australia and has been adapted to be more culturally inclusive on the New Zealand context.


Clinicians and service managers of both DHB and NGO organisations and primary care are strongly encouraged to attend. With the current redesign of mental health services in this country, this is an opportune time to ensure that the new models are LGBTTIQA+ inclusive.


Learning Outcomes

Participants will:

  • Have a working knowledge of the principles of cultural competence and cultural safety as applied to LGBTTIQA+ persons

  • Assess current service delivery against key principles, criteria and recommended actions for LGBTTIQA+ inclusiveness to their service provision

  • Identify opportunities and challenges for improving LGBTTIQA+ inclusive practice in their organisation

  • Be familiarised with the considered practice wisdom in delivery clinical and support services to LGBTTIQA+ people

Recent studies show that mainstream services in New Zealand have not significantly improved in their service delivery to clients who are members of the rainbow communities (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Takatāpui, Transgender, Intersex, Queer, Asexual - LGBTTIQA+). 


Many LGBTTIQA+ people using mainstream services report feeling unsafe or that issues relating to their sexuality or gender are either stereotyped or misunderstood, adding extra stress in a time of acute distress.

A learning opportunity to explore what LGBTTIQA+ inclusive practice means and why services and clinicians need to ensure their practice is inclusive.

Topics covered:

  • Unpacking LGBTTIQA+ – Sexuality, Sex and Gender

  • Intersections not collisions - Intersectionality of gender, sexuality, culture and religion

  • Mad, Bad or Sad – The determinants that contribute to positive and poor mental health outcomes in LLGBTTIQA+ people

  • Equal but not the Same – What do we mean by Inclusive Practice

  • LGBTTIQA+ Cultural Competency and Safety – What does it look like?

  • How inclusive is Inclusive – Principles of Inclusive Practice

  • Auditing your service or clinical practice for LGBTTIQA+ inclusive practices

  • Strategies for implementing inclusive practice into organisations and clinical practice

  • Inclusive Practitioners - LGBTTIQA+ practice wisdom


Feedback from other participants

“The clinical examples using the broader sociological lens made the course so much more relevant and of use to all clinicians. Will recommend it to all my colleagues and hope the rest of my team attends”


"The highly skilled presenter with a wealth of knowledge and experience meant I could be confident in the content"


“Now realise how much I failed to appreciate the significance of certain life events of rainbow clients I have worked with."

Addiction Worker

“This course should be part of all mental health nurses training. Informative, relevant and valuable"

Mental Health Nurse


Not all suicide risk factors are the same.


Become familiar with the additional risk factors that need to be considered in undertaking an assessment of suicide of risk.

Learn how the impact of discrimination, heteronormative assumptions, unconscious bias, internalised homo/bi/trans phobia heightens suicide risk and can impact on the therapeutic relationship.

Develop your theoretical analysis of the social and psychological determinants that influence suicide risk in LGBTTIQA+ people


Gain insights of what counsellors need to consider when providing crisis intervention or longer-term counselling or support with LGBTTIQA+ people experiencing suicidal ideation or behaviour

The Suicide Closet: Effective suicide interventions for LGBTTIQA+ people


Studies have shown that for members of the rainbow communities, thinking about suicide; attempting suicide and dying by suicide is far more common than in the broader population. There are identified additional risk factors which need to be considered when undertaking a risk assessment with an LGBTTIQA+ person. Yet, many clinicians still fail to ask about gender or sexuality nor take into account the significance of these factors in assessing suicide risk.  

This workshop provides participants with a comprehensive overview of the risk factors and effective strategies for engaging and supporting sexual or gender diverse people who are suicidal.

Learning Outcomes


Workshop participants will be:

  • Knowledgeable of the social and psychological determinants that contribute to suicide risk and behaviour in LGBTTIQA+ people.

  • Familiar with specific LGBTTIQA+ risk and protective factors to consider when undertaking a suicide risk assessment.

  • Familiar with specific dynamics for LGBTTIQA+ people that counsellors and therapists need to take into account when engaged in crisis or clinical interventions or providing longer-term support to LGBTTIQA+ people experiencing suicidal ideation or behaviour.

  • Cognisant of the specific grief issues for LGBTTIQA+ people bereaved by suicide as well as the increased potential risk of suicide contagion.


Topics covered:

  • Suicide in LGBTTIQA+ people – What is it and how is it explained

  • The role of social determinants in contributing to poor mental health outcomes and suicidality in LGBTTIQA+ people

  • Not all the same - understanding age, gender and cultural differences in LGBTTIQA+ suicide

  • Risk and Protective Factors for suicide in LGBTTIQA+ people – Additional considerations when undertaking suicide risk assessment in LGBTTIQA+ people

  • Unconscious bias and heteronormative assumptions and the therapeutic relationship

  • Intervention and support - Issues to consider when working with LGBTTIQA+ people experiencing suicidal ideation or behaviour.

  • Suicide contagion in LGBTTIQA+ communities

Feedback from other participants

“The easy to understand explanations of trans and intersex was most helpful and shed light on the experiences of groups that I knew little about.”

Clinical Psychologist

“I wish there had been a course like this when I first started working in mental health.  I have learnt so much.”

Social Worker

“Your openness and style of presentation created a safe environment to ask questions and for honest group discussion.”

Mental Health Nurse

“Leaving even more determined to ensure my school is a safe place for our rainbow students."

School Counsellor


Practice Wisdom: Working therapeutically with LGBTTIQA+ clients

This workshop is based on the Working Therapeutically with LGBTTIQA+ Clients: A Practice Wisdom Resource developed by practitioners with extensive experience and deep knowledge about working with LGBTTIQA+ people and communities.


Practice Wisdom is an experiential one-day training that translates expertise to a counselling room context, focusing on being a trusted collaborator, survival and resilience, minority stress, intersectionality, and concepts of power in therapeutic work.


Learning Objectives

  • Improving your role as a therapist supporting LGBTTIQA+ people

  • Understanding the complexity of living as an LGBTTIQA+ person in modern Aotearoa/New Zealand

  • The intersection of culture and/or religion and being LGBTTIQA+

  • Introduction to the power of naming experiences and being an effective ally

  • Talking about intimacy, bodies and sex

  • Engaging effectively with transgender clients

  • Engaging effectively with clients with an intersex variation.


Target Audience: Mental health professionals, psychologists, psychotherapists and counsellors who engage in counselling or therapeutic work with LGBTTIQA+ clients.


Workshop Length:        2 days  (9am – 4.30pm)

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Me mahi tahi tautou mo te oranga o te katoa   -  Working together for the wellbeing of everyone

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