NSLHD News August 14

Wear it purple for LGBTQI+ young people It’s nearly time to start

digging out your purple – Wear it Purple Day is on its way. On Friday 28 August, Northern Sydney Local Health District will be celebrating Wear It Purple Day – an initiative that strives to foster supportive, safe, empowering and inclusive environments for young people who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI+). The focus of the day is ‘We Are The Change’ which encourages staff to think about ways they can contribute to creating effective change for LGBTQI+ young people and all minority groups. On the day staff are encouraged to pop on something purple – clothes, scarf or a hair ribbon – or pick up a Wear it Purple sticker which will be available at all sites. Clinical Nurse Consultant Mental Health Pathways in Practice Coordinator Lizz Whitlam said the district has an important role to play in fostering an inclusive and empowering environment where the diversity of our community is celebrated. “We know that young people who identify as LGBTQI+ have poorer mental health and higher rates of suicide

Lizz Whitlam

than other Australians – so campaigns like Wear It Purple Day are really important to facilitate the awareness and start more conversations about LGBTIQ+ people more broadly,” she said. “These campaigns also show the district’s commitment to diversity, inclusion and belonging and making it a priority.” Lizz is part of the newly established LGBTQI+ network which brings together staff who identify as LGBTQI+ and non LGBTQI+ allies to create an inclusive workplace culture that respects all diversity. The group meets monthly to discuss events, strategy, progress and issues for the network. Lizz said: “Like any diverse group, when it comes to engaging the person and delivering care that is holistic

and person-centred, we need to be able to have conversations with an individual that is respectful, non-judgemental, and one of enquiry and curiosity. “The lens has always been heteronormative and there’s nothing in the space for LGBTQI+ in terms of physical health issues, mental health, domestic violence, and drug and alcohol related issues. “I hope the network can influence this moving forward and be seen as a leadership group that can offer advice and expertise by sharing experiences so we can meet the needs of our staff, patients and consumers today and into the future.” To join the LGBTQI network, please contact NSLHD- ODTeam@health.nsw.gov.au.

Do you know the symptoms of meningococcal disease? Parents and young adults are urged to be alert to the symptoms of meningococcal disease as we head into late winter and spring. Meningococcal disease is of fever, headache, neck stiffness, joint pain, dislike of bright lights, nausea, vomiting, irritability, and rash of red- purple spots or bruises that Rapid treatment with antibiotics can save your life and reduce the risk of severe complications. Several vaccines against

doesn’t disappear when pressure is applied. A rash does not always appear or it may occur late in the disease. Symptoms usually occur suddenly and can get worse quickly, so it’s important to seek urgent medical treatment. If you have already seen a doctor but symptoms continue to worsen, consult your doctor again or go to the ED.

meningococcal disease are available in NSW and free for infants, adolescents, and people with certain medical conditions. Consult your GP about the best option for you and your family. For more information about meningococcal disease, visit https://bit.ly/2Fhmvij

caused by a bacterial infection that can lead to serious illness or death, if not recognised and treated in time. While anyone can contract meningococcal disease, infection rates are higher in children aged 0 – 4 years and in people aged 15 – 24 years. Symptoms of meningococcal disease include sudden onset


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