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  • Leading mental health groups launch SSM campaign

    Author: AAP

Mental health groups claim a 'yes' vote for marriage equality could avert as many as 3000 youth suicide attempts ever year among the LGBTIQ community.

Leading mental health groups have joined forces to warn of the serious impact the same sex marriage debate could have on the wellbeing of young Australians.

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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 people to consider the "real and devastating" links between youth suicide rates and discrimination against young LGBTIQ people.

They claim the facts show a 'yes' vote for marriage equality could avert as many as 3000 youth suicide attempts ever year among the LGBTIQ community.

"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," Jono Nicholas, CEO, ReachOut said in a statement on Thursday.


The reduction in suicide attempts was calculated by Dr Jo Robinson, a senior research fellow at Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health at the University of Melbourne.

According to Dr Robinson, the implementation of same-sex marriage policies in the United States has been associated with a seven per cent relative reduction in the proportion of high school students attempting suicide.

The association was strongest among sexual minority students, says Dr Robinson.

Clinical psychologist Dr Fiona Shand, a research fellow at the Black Dog Institute, denies the release of this estimate in suicide attempt reductions is scaremongering and says it's a "reasonable assumption to make".

For anyone suffering anxiety as a result of the marriage equality debate, Dr Shand advises people to tune out from social media.

"Take a break from your Twitter feed or wherever else you are seeing this debate taking place, but certainly its important that people do reach out and ask for help if they are really struggling with this," Dr Shand said.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.

MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78.

Multicultural Mental Health Australia

Local Aboriginal Medical Service details available from


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