As many as 3000 youth suicide attempts could be averted each year with a ‘YES’ vote for marriage equality, the nation’s leading youth mental health organisations have revealed today.
Launching the national #mindthefacts campaign, the Black Dog Institute, headspace, ReachOut, Brain and Mind Centre at University of Sydney, and Orygen, the National Centre for Excellence in Youth Mental Health, are encouraging Australians to carefully consider the real and devastating links between youth suicide rates and discrimination against young LGBTIQ people when they cast their vote over the next six weeks.
#mindthefacts uses real facts and evidence to urge Australians to cast a ‘yes’ vote, drawing attention to the peer reviewed studies confirming the negative health impacts caused by discrimination against LGBTIQ people.
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.
“This confronting statistic highlights both the human impacts of the current discrimination against LGBTIQ relationships, and the positive future that marriage equality can achieve for Australia,” said Jono Nicholas, CEO, ReachOut speaking on behalf of the campaign coalition.
“That is why we are asking Australians to #mindthefacts and vote ‘YES’ when filling out their postal survey form over the next month.
“As Australia’s leading youth mental health organisations, we see, hear and feel the real and devastating link between LGBTIQ discrimination and youth suicide rates and mental illness every day.
“This has only been heightened by the decision to proceed with this postal survey, despite our warnings.
“We deal in facts – and there’s one fact Australians can’t ignore: discrimination against young LGBTIQ people leads to poor mental health outcomes and a higher risk of suicide.
“We therefore feel collectively compelled to intervene in this debate to ensure Australians have access to real clinical evidence and research, not alternate facts and fiction.
“This campaign is not about politics, ideology or shaming those considering voting ‘No’.
“It is about asking Australians to #mindthefacts, because voting ‘Yes’ will undoubtedly change thousands of young lives for the better.”
In the United States, implementation of same-sex marriage policies has been associated with a 7% relative reduction in the proportion of high school students attempting suicide. The association was strongest among sexual minority students. Based on figures from the Second Australian Child and Adolescent Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing this would equate to almost 3000 fewer suicide attempts made by Australian secondary school students per year.
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