Five mental health groups have joined forces in the campaign for marriage equality, claiming up to 3000 youth suicide attempts a year could be prevented by a “yes” vote.
Mental health service providers have reported the divisive same-sex marriage postal survey campaign has led to a spike in demand for their services.
The five groups – ReachOut, Headspace, Orygen, the Black Dog Institute and Sydney University’s Brain and Mind Centre – launched a campaign on Thursday urging facts and research be at the forefront of the national postal survey campaign.
The groups’ #mindthefacts campaign cites peer-reviewed research from American mental health experts which found high school suicide attempts in the US dropped by 7 per cent when same-sex marriage was made legal in 2015.
Based on that figure and Australian government statistics, the group claims introducing same-sex marriage could prevent about 3000 attempts among 12 to 17-year-olds per year.
ReachOut CEO and campaign spokesman Jono Nicholas said the campaign isn’t about politics, ideology or shaming those considering voting “no,” but highlighting the higher risk of suicide among LGBTIQ Australians.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
If you need support, help is available from QLife on 1800 184 527 or online at QLife.org.au, Lifeline on 13 11 14, Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.
(Photo via headspace)