The suicide prevention sector seeks to support communities impacted by continuing public debate on marriage equality and we advocate for relationship equality in this country. We are grateful for the insights of our Member Organisation, The National LGBTI Health Alliance, on these matters.
They host a Relationship Equality Statement on their website that I would encourage all of our Members and friends to read. SPA shares their grave concerns "about the damaging impact that the national dialogue on the issue of marriage equality is having on our communities" and the fact that “we are already witnessing a rise in the levels of stress and anxiety within LGBTI communities.”
We believe that all people throughout Australia and the world should be able to live free from stigma and discrimination experienced so often by lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans/transgender, intersex and other sexuality and gender diverse people and communities.
In Australia, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans/transgender, intersex and other sexuality and gender diverse Australians are between 3.5 and 14 times more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual people. Suicide prevention research has identified a number of risks and protective factors that individually and combined, that can have a significant impact on these figures. This includes stress related to coming out and/or relationship disclosure, invisibility and lack of recognition of relationships, as well as self-censorship and medication of behaviour (such as avoiding displays of affection).
Suicide Prevention Australia acknowledges the work being done by our members and others to strengthen LGBTI health and wellbeing with specific support for suicide prevention policies and programs.
We stand with our members and colleagues in supporting relationship equality as just one of a number of steps that need to be taken to reduce stigma and prevent suicide in the LGBTI community. Read the Australian Marriage Equality statement signed by a number of our members as well as the Black Dog Institute Statement released this week.
Throughout this time of public conversation and debate, we call for all Australians to be respectful and considerate.
Suicide prevention and mental health services are on hand to support individuals who experience an increased sense of vulnerability as well as those around them. Find out more about services available to support you to get help or give help click on the Get Help button on our website.
A specific reminder of the QLife service, the national telephone and web counselling service for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people, families and friends. CALL 1800 184 527 or chat online at https://qlife.org.au/support/
Chief Executive, Suicide Prevention Australia