CW: suicide, mental illness, homophobia
It’s ironic that World Suicide Prevention Day and R U OK Day came in the height of the same – sex marriage debate. I think there has been a lack of genuine discussion on the issue of mental health of LGBTQ+ people throughout these past few months. Organisations who have brought up the issue like the Australian Medical Association and have been slammed for suggesting that the same – sex marriage debate is deemed a health risk to the LGBTQ+ community.
I don’t know how these findings came about and I’m always skeptical of data when the sample size used is particularly small.
However, Canberra Times reported that counsellors did see a spike in calls from LGBTQ+ people as the debate raged.
I’m not saying that those who are going to or have already voted ‘no’ in this survey are responsible for any suicide or mental health crisis that an LGBTQ+ person may experience. However, I am disappointed that sections of the media has quickly dismissed suggestions that some may be affected.
While I support a debate and a vote — to be frank I think it’ll be better later on — I’d be lying if I said it has been a walk in the park for a number of LGBTQ+ people. To their credit, Canberra Times, Huffington Post Australia and SBS have brought this up. I’ve also seen a number of Facebook posts giving coping tips to LGBTQ+ people who are finding it hard. Kudos to those who made those posts.
All I ask from the public is this: regardless of your views on same – sex marriage or how you’ve voted, please, please look out for LGBTQ+ you’re close to. Be a soft place to fall. If you think they need it, encourage your loved ones to get professional help.
For those who do need help, contact Lifeline: 13 11 14
Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636