Why we asked Australians to #mindthefacts
#mindthefacts was a national campaign launched in September 2017 by five of Australia’s leading youth mental health organisations: Black Dog Institute, headspace, ReachOut, Brain and Mind Centre at the University of Sydney and Orygen, the National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health.
The campaign asked Australians to consider the real and devastating link between discrimination and negative mental health impacts for young LGBTIQ people when voting in the marriage equality postal survey in 2017. The campaign followed urgent high-level talks between the mental health groups after a surge in demand for mental health services at the time, as a result of the same sex marriage postal survey.
- Same-sex couples report higher levels of health in jurisdictions with marriage equality .
- LGBTI young people are twice as likely to be diagnosed with a mental health condition, six times more likely to have suicidal thoughts and five times more likely to make an attempt on their life than their heterosexual peers  .
- Stigma and prejudice have been associated with a shorter life expectancy of approximately 12 years for sexual minorities living in high-prejudice communities .
- Harassment or abuse against LGBT people is an indicator of poorer mental health, with those experiencing harassment or abuse reporting higher levels of psychological distress .
- Daily exposure to negative campaign messages on the rights of same-sex couples is linked to negative consequences for their psychological and relational wellbeing .
- Compared to their heterosexual peers, same-sex attracted people are 14 times more likely to attempt suicide, twice as likely to experience anxiety disorders and three times more likely to experience affective disorders compared with the broader population  .
- In areas where marriage equality is not legal, same-sex attracted people have lower mental health outcomes than in areas where it is .
 Lennox Kail B et al, ‘State-Level Marriage Equality and the Health of Same-Sex Couples’. American Journal of Public Health. Vol. 105, 2015, p 1101-1105.
 S. Morris, ‘Snapshot of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Statistics for LGBTI People and Communities’. National LGBTI Health Alliance, 2016
 K.H. Robinson et al., ‘Growing Up Queer: Issues Facing Young Australians Who Are Gender Variant and Sexuality Diverse’. Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre, 2014.
 M.L. Hatzenbuelher et al, ‘Structural stigma and allcause mortality in sexual minority populations’. Social Science & Medicine. Vol. 103, 2014, p. 33-41.
 W Leonard et al, ‘A closer look at Private Lives 2: Addressing the mental health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Australians’. Monograph Series No. 103. The Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health & Society, La Trobe University: Melbourne, 2015.
D.M. Frost & A.W. Fingerhut, Daily exposure to negative campaign messages decreases same-sex couples’ psychological and relational well-being. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations. Vol. 19, no. 4, 2016, p 477-492.
Australian Bureau of Statistics (2007) National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results. 4326.0. Australian Government, Canberra.
G. Rosenstreich, ‘LGBTI People Mental Health and Suicide’. Revised 2nd Edition. National LGBTI Health Alliance, 2013.
M.L. Hatzenbuehler et al, ‘The impact of institutional discrimination on psychiatric disorders in lesbian, gay, and bisexual populations: a prospective study’. American Journal of Public Health. vol. 100, no. 3, 2010, p 452-459.
As many as 3000 youth suicide attempts could be averted each year with a yes vote for marriage equality.
In the United States, implementation of same-sex marriage policies has been associated with a 7% relative reduction in the proportion of high school students attempting suicide. The association was strongest among sexual minority students. Based on figures from the Second Australian Child and Adolescent Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing this would equate to almost 3000 fewer suicide attempts made by Australian secondary school students per year.
For further evidence, please refer to the list of publications below.
Help seeking resources
We acknowledge that the current postal vote on same-sex marriage in Australia can have an impact on people's mental wellbeing.
Crisis support lines (Australian services)
Please contact emergency services if you or someone near you is in immediate danger.
Emergency support - 000
|Lifeline - 13 11 14|
|QLife (3pm-midnight) - 1800 184 527|
|Kids Helpline - 1800 55 1800|
|beyondblue - 1300 22 4636|
Online tools and resources
Mindstrength - Short interactive modules aimed at increasing understanding and developing resilience.
Reach Out - Support services for LGBTQI+ youth.
Qheadspace - Online peer support for young LGBTQI+ people.
QLife Chat - Online chat for LGBTQI+ people available from 3pm-midnight daily.
How to help someone else - Information about supporting a family member or friend.
Helpful conversations - Interactive video with insight on how to talk to someone you're worried about
Staying on track - Interactive video featuring young people with lived experience giving advice on keeping yourself mentally healthy
Statistics on LGBTQI+ peoples' mental health in Australia
|Australian Institute of Family Studies||The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children Annual Statistical Report 2016. Melbourne: AIFS, 2017.|
|Australian Bureau of Statistics||National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007. 4326.0. Australian Government, Canberra.|
|Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care||LIFE – A framework for prevention of suicide and self-harm in Australia: Learnings about suicide. Canberra: CDHAC, 2000.|
|S. Dyson et al.||Don’t ask, don’t tell. Report of the same-sex attracted youth suicide data collection project. Melbourne: Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University, 2003.|
|D. Lawrence et al.||The Mental Health of Children and Adolescents. Report on the second Australian Child and Adolescent Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing. Canberra: Department of Health. 2015.|
|G. Martin et al.||Self injury in Australia: a community survey’. Medical Journal of Australia, vol. 193, 2010, p 506 - 510.|
|S. Morris.||Snapshot of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Statistics for LGBTI People and Communities. Sydney: National LGBTI Health Alliance, 2016.|
|J. Robinson et al.||Raising the bar for youth suicide prevention. Melbourne: Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, 2016.|
|G. Rosenstreich.||LGBTIQ People Mental Health and Suicide. Revised 2nd Edition. Sydney: National LGBTI Health Alliance, 2013.|
Negative effects on LGBTIQ people living in jurisdictions without marriage equality
|J.A. Bauermeister.||‘How statewide LGB policies go from “under our skin” to “into our hearts”: fatherhood aspirations and psychological well-being among emerging adult sexual minority men.’ Journal of Youth and Adolescence. Vol. 43, no. 8, 2014, p 1295-1305.|
|D. Frost and A.W. Fingerhut||‘Daily exposure to negative campaign messages decreases same-sex couples’ psychological and relational well-being’. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, vol. 19, no. 4, 2016, 477-492.|
|M.L. Hatzenbuehler et al.||‘The impact of institutional discrimination on psychiatric disorders in lesbian, gay, and bisexual populations: a prospective study’. American Journal of Public Health. vol. 100, no. 3, 2010, p 452-459.|
|M.L. Hatzenbuehler et al.||‘Structural stigma and all-cause mortality in sexual minority populations’. Social Science & Medicine. Vol. 103, 2014, p 33-41.|
|G. Herdt and R. Kertzner.||‘I do, but I can’t: The impact of marriage denial on the mental health and sexual citizenship of lesbians and gay men in the United States.’ Sexuality Research and Social Policy Journal of NSRC. Vol. 3, no. 1, 2006, p 33-49.|
|A.W. Fingerhut et al.||‘Same-sex marriage: The Social and Psychological Implications of Policy and Debates’, Journal of Social Issues. Vol. 67, no. 2, 2011, p 225-241.|
|J Raifman et al.||‘Difference-in-differences analysis of the association between state same-sex marriage policies and adolescent suicide attempts’. JAMA Pediatrics, vol. 171, no. 4, 2017, p 350-356.|
|S.S. Rostosky et al.||‘Marriage amendments and psychological distress in lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) adults’. Journal of Counseling Psychology. Vol. 56, no. 1, 2009, p 56-66.|
|S.S. Rostosky et al.||‘Lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals’ psychological reactions to amendments denying access to civil marriage’. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. Vol. 80, no. 3, 2010, p 302-10.|
Poorer mental health outcomes in sexual minority populations
|K.H. Robinson et al.||Growing Up Queer: Issues Facing Young Australians Who Are Gender Variant and Sexuality Diverse. Melbourne: Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre, 2014.|
|J. Corboz et al.||Feeling Queer and Blue: A Review of the Literature on Depression and Related Issues among Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Other Homosexually Active People, A Report from the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University, prepared for beyondblue. Melbourne: La Trobe University, 2008.|
|Haas et al.||‘Suicide and Suicide Risk in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Populations: Review and Recommendations.’ Journal of Homosexuality. Vol. 58, no. 1, 2011, p 10-51.|
|L. Hillier et al.||Writing Themselves in 3: The third national study on the health and wellbeing of same sex attracted and gender questioning young people. Melbourne: Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University, 2010.|
|T.S. Hottes et al.||‘Lifetime prevalence of suicide attempts among sexual minority adults by study sampling strategies: A systematic review and meta-analysis.’ American Journal of Public Health. Vol. 106, no. 5, 2016, e1-e12.|
|K. Jackman et al.||‘Nonsuicidal self-injury among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender populations: an integrative review.’ Journal of Clinical Nursing. Vol. 25, no. 23-24, 2016, p 3438-3453.|
|R.C. Kessler et al.||‘Lifetime prevalence and age-of-onset distributions of DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication’. Archives of General Psychiatry, vol. 62, no. 6, 2005, p 593-602.|
|J.H. Lee et al.||‘Discrimination, mental health, and substance use disorders among sexual minority populations.’ LGBT Health. Vol. 3, no. 4, 2016, p 258-265.|
|W. Leonard et al.||Private Lives 2: The second national survey of the health and wellbeing of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) Australians. Melbourne: Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University, 2012.|
|M King, et al.||‘A systematic review of mental disorder, suicide, and deliberate self harm in lesbian, gay and bisexual people’. BMC Psychiatry, vol. 8, no. 70, 2008.|
Health benefits of marriage for LGBTIQ people
|E. Bariola, A. Lyons and W. Leonard.||‘The mental health benefits of relationship formalisation among lesbians and gay men in same-sex relationships’. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Public Health. vol. 39, no. 6, 2015, p 530-535.|
|M.V.L. Badgett.||When Gay People Get Married: What Happens When Societies Legalize Same-Sex Marriage. New York, NY: New York University Press, 2009|
|M.V.L. Badgett.||‘Social Inclusion and the Value of Marriage Equality in Massachusetts and the Netherlands’. Journal of Social Issues. Vol. 67, no. 2, 2011, p 316-34.|
|J.K. Ducharme and M.M. Kollar.||‘Does the “marriage benefit” extend to same-sex union? Evidence from a sample of married lesbian couples in Massachusetts.’ Journal of Homosexuality, vol 59, no. 4, 2012, p 580-591.|
|A. Fingerhut and N. Maisel.||‘Relationship formalization and individual and relationship well-being among same-sex couples’. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. Vol. 27, no. 7, 2010, p. 956-969.|
|G.M. Herek||‘Legal recognition of same-sex relationships in the United States: a social science perspective’. American Psychologist. Vol. 61, no. 6, 2006, p 607-621.|
|M. Frisch and J. Simonsen.||‘Marriage, cohabitation and mortality in Denmark: national cohort study of 6.5 million persons followed for up to three decades (1982-2011)’. International Journal of Epidemiology. vol. 42, no. 2, 2013, p 559-78.|
|B. Lennox Kail, K.L. Acosta and E.R. Wright.||‘State-level marriage equality and the health of same-sex couples’. American Journal of Public Health. vol. 105, no. 6, 2015, p 1101-1105.|
|R.G.Wight, et al.||‘Stress and mental health among midlife and older gay-identified men'. American Journal of Public Health. vol. 102, no. 3, 2012, p 503-510.|
|R.G. Wight, A.J. Leblanc and M.V.L. Badgett.||‘Same-sex legal marriage and psychological well-being: findings from the California Health Interview Survey’. American Journal of Public Health. vol. 103, no. 2, 2013, p 339-346.|