Go back

Mental health leaders applaud momentous day in Australian history

November 15, 2017

The CEOs of Australia’s leading youth mental health organisations have issued the following joint statement on behalf of #mindthefacts in response to the result of the marriage equality postal survey:

We applaud the majority ‘YES’ vote in the same sex marriage survey. This is a momentous day in Australian history.

61.6 per cent of Australians have voted to legislate in favour of marriage equality. This is a resounding “YES” for our nation.

We thank the Australian public for voting with the facts in mind. This result affirms for young LGBTIQ Australians that they have a bright and positive future in this country, and that their mental wellbeing is a priority.

Now we have this result, it is time to unite and end the negativity.

We also call on our leaders and parliament to deliver on legislating marriage equality by the end of 2017 – a great way to start fresh in the New Year for the LGBTIQ community and Australia.

We know the distress caused by the postal survey does not end with this result, and remind young Australians that mental health services and support are available.

ReachOut has today released new online resources to support the result, and its forums are a safe space to work through the result, celebrate and vent.

Young people going through a tough time can also visit any of the 100 headspace centres across Australia or visit www.headspace.org.au  

Statement on behalf of:

Professor Helen Christensen, Director and Chief Scientist, Black Dog Institute
Jason Trethowan, CEO, headspace
Professor Pat McGorry AO, Executive Director Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health
Jono Nicholas, CEO, ReachOut
Professor Ian Hickie AM, Co-Director, The University of Sydney’s  Brain and Mind Centre.

 

 KEY FACTS

  • LGBTI young people are twice as likely to be diagnosed with a mental health condition, six times more likely to have suicidal thoughts and five times more likely to make an attempt on their life than their heterosexual peers[1][2].
  • Stigma and prejudice have been associated with a shorter life expectancy of approximately 12 years for sexual minorities living in high-prejudice communities[3].
  • Harassment or abuse against LGBT people is an indicator of poorer mental health, with those experiencing harassment or abuse reporting higher levels of psychological distress[4].
  • Daily exposure to negative campaign messages on the rights of same-sex couples is linked to negative consequences for their psychological and relational wellbeing[5].
  • Compared to their heterosexual peers, same-sex attracted people are 14 times more likely to attempt suicide, twice as likely to experience anxiety disorders and three times more likely to experience affective disorders compared with the broader population[6][7].
  • In areas where marriage equality is not legal, same-sex attracted people have lower mental health outcomes than in areas where it is.[8]

ABOUT #mindthefacts

#mindthefacts is a national campaign launched in September by five of Australia’s leading youth mental health organisations: Black Dog Institute, headspace, ReachOut, Brain and Mind Centre at the University of Sydney and Orygen, the National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health.

The campaign asks Australians to consider the real and devastating link between discrimination and negative mental health impacts for young LGBTIQ people when voting in the marriage equality postal survey. The campaign follows urgent high-level talks between the mental health groups after a surge in demand for mental health services in recent weeks, as a result of the same sex marriage postal survey.



[1] S. Morris, ‘Snapshot of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Statistics for LGBTI People and Communities’.National LGBTI Health Alliance, 2016

[2] K.H. Robinson et al., ‘Growing Up Queer: Issues Facing Young Australians Who Are Gender Variant and Sexuality Diverse’.  Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre, 2014.

[3] M.L. Hatzenbuelher et al, ‘Structural stigma and allcause mortality in sexual minority populations’. Social Science & Medicine. Vol. 103, 2014, p. 33-41.

[4] W Leonard et al, ‘A closer look at Private Lives 2: Addressing the mental health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Australians’. Monograph Series No. 103. The Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health & Society, La Trobe University: Melbourne, 2015.

[5] D.M. Frost & A.W. Fingerhut, Daily exposure to negative campaign messages decreases same-sex couples’ psychological and relational well-being. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations. 2016; 19(4): 477-492.

[6] Australian Bureau of Statistics (2007) National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results. 4326.0. Australian Government, Canberra.

[7] G. Rosenstreich, ‘LGBTI People Mental Health and Suicide’. Revised 2nd Edition. National LGBTI Health Alliance, 2013.

[8] M.L. Hatzenbuehler et al, ‘The impact of institutional discrimination on psychiatric disorders in lesbian, gay, and bisexual populations: a prospective study’. American Journal of Public Health. vol. 100, no. 3, 2010, p 452-459.