Gay Community Suffers High Psychological Distress – NFP Study
Thursday, 5th April 2012 at 12:15 pm
Flickr image: Some rights reserved by San Diego Shooter
Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Australians experience high or very high levels of psychological distress, a new Not for Profit study has found.
The study, commissioned by La Trobe University Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS) and Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria, found that of the more than 4,000 people surveyed, nearly 80 per cent of them experienced at least one episode of intense anxiety in the past 12 months.
Of those over a quarter had been diagnosed with, or treated for, an anxiety disorder.
The study was largely conducted online and surveyed participants from 16-89 years, according to La Trobe ARCSHS Research Fellow, Liam Leonard.
The study also showed that just over three quarters of the total sample reported having a regular GP, only around 69 per cent reported that their GP knew of their sexuality.
It also reveals that a significant percentage of respondents reported ‘occasionally’ or ‘usually’ hiding their sexuality or gender identity in a range of situations for fear of heterosexist violence or discrimination: 44 per cent in public and 33.6 per cent when accessing services,
Young people aged 16 to 24 years were more likely than any other age group to hide their sexuality or gender identity.
“While the research documents show an increased acceptance of GLBT people and marginal improvements in their general health, it also shows GLBT people continue to experience much higher levels of abuse and discrimination,” Leonard said.
“A likely outcome of this is the poorer mental health participants had compared with the population at large.
‘The most common health conditions among participants were depression and anxiety/nervous disorders.”
The project was supported by beyondblue with funds from The Movember Foundation, with additional funds provided by the Victorian Government and a La Trobe University faculty grant.
beyondblue chairman, Jeff Kennett, said that the findings are in line with other research beyondblue has funded.
“This research strengthens our resolve to continue our work with this community to reduce discrimination and improve help-seeking,” Kennett said.
Kennett said that beyondblue will be launching an awareness campaign to address some of the disturbing statistics highlighted in this report.
Movember’s chief operating officer, Jason Hincks, said that the survey findings will directly affect and shape programs and services offered to the GLBT community.
To coincide with the release of the report, Victorian Mental Health Minister, Mary Wooldridge, announced the first recipients of the Healthy Equal Youth (HEY) grants to support suicide prevention and mental health activities for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex (GLBTI) young people.
Wooldridge said that the first recipients of the grants will share in more than $180,000 to deliver programs in school settings and established community and health services.
The successful organisations include:
- Brimbank Youth Services
- St Kilda Youth Service
- Grampians Community Health
- YGender (Drummond Street Services)
- Mildura Base Hospital
- Centre for Multicultural Youth
- Youth Assist Clinic (South Gippsland Hospital).
"The seven projects address discrimination, challenge homophobia and transphobia and improve the experience for GLBTI young people when accessing health services," Wooldridge said.