Brisbane will soon see the official launch of a new LGBTI group ‘Wendybird’, aimed at fostering a supportive environment for those living with mental health issues and breaking down barriers and stigma. For many LGBTI Queenslanders, the name Sally Morris is synonymous with mental health, — and for good reason, as the issue is a personal one for the founding member of the new community group, Wendybird. Wendybird is one of few groups now established in Queensland specifically targeting issues relating to mental health within Brisbane’s LGBTI community.We understand the role that connection, belonging and community plays in our mental health and well-being and in reducing suicide in our community,” Morris said. “For those of us who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, or have a body, gender, relationship or sexuality that is outside the norm; this can be incredibly hard to find.” To respond to these needs of the community, Morris established Wendybird – named after her sister Wendy who died in 2007 – and she hopes to offer people living from depression, isolation and other mental health issues another avenue to reach out to others who can understand what they are experiencing. “We value the role of community and belonging for all people, and are working together to intentionally create, grow and develop safer and supportive communities and culture that is diverse, welcoming and inclusive,” Morris said.
The group aims to facilitate regular social events for anyone within Brisbane’s LGBTI community along with their family and friends. Wendybird is also led by a collection of people from Brisbane’s LGBTI community who share a passion for tackling mental health problems. They include: Patrick Kay, Chantel Keegan, Chris Pye, Jaxxon Chilli, Ruth Gardner, Davina Jones, Sophiaan Subhan, Shirralee Ransley, Evie Ryder and Meagan Probert. After holding their first event at last September’s Brisbane Pride Festival, Morris said that the group has attracted public awareness and membership, and hopes to build on their efforts further following an official launch.
The Wendybird launch is on Saturday, March 28 at the New Farm Neighbourhood Centre at 967 Brunswick St, New Farm, running from 2pm to 5pm. Details: www.wendybird.com.au
This article first appeared Star Observer, 16 March 2015.