Australian news website Star Observer is reporting that a group of Aussie psychologists has formed to promote the growing body of evidence linking the issues of mental health and marriage inequality.
The Brisbane-based organization Psychologists for Marriage Equality (PMA) was created to highlight the psychological harm created when people are discriminated against in legislation. New research outlined by PMA indicates there is a direct decline in the rates of gay and lesbian people accessing mental health services in countries and regions that have achieved marriage equality.
“Together with mental health issues, marriage inequality creates broader issues such as the perpetuation of stigmas toward same sex attracted people,” Centre for Human Potential principal psychologist and PMA spokesman Paul Martin said.
Adding, “This ultimately leads to misconceptions in society such as those that same-sex attraction is some sort of disorder or caused by abuse. These misconceptions create a range of psychological problems such as feelings of isolation, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and suicide.”
In a 2007 analysis of Australian Bureau of Statistics data, LGBT people were shown to be four times more likely to attempt suicide and twice as likely to suffer extreme psychological stress, which could lead to substance abuse.
“These issues don’t just affect the individual, they have implications for friends, families, employers and the whole community,” Brown said. “Inequality disadvantages everyone, not just those who are suffer the inequality.”