Twenty three metropolitan and regional community health organisations from across the length and breadth of Victoria have today issued a joint statement in support of marriage equality.
Victoria’s community health sector has a long history of supporting marginalised communities and advocating for change that will reduce health inequality. Today’s public statement arises from a deep concern about the health impacts of a potential marriage equality postal survey on the health and wellbeing of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) community.
Higher rates of anxiety and depression, suicide, drug and alcohol use and other forms of poor mental and physical health among LGBTIQ people, particularly younger people, are well documented. These adverse health impacts arise as a result of experiences of individual, social and legal discrimination, with a lack of marriage equality in particular shown to be specifically associated with poorer health and wellbeing outcomes among LGBTIQ people.
Further research has found that these harms worsen during campaign periods, and many of the signatory organisations to this statement have already observed marked increases in the number of people from LGBTIQ communities seeking support for the distress they are experiencing.
These impacts are not limited to our clients, with many of our LGBTIQ staff, and their allies, also experiencing negative impacts on their health and wellbeing.
Today’s statement is an expression of solidarity and support to our many LGBTIQ staff and clients in the context of the current debates.
The statement also makes clear that the signatory organisations strongly support marriage equality as an important public health strategy towards improving the mental and physical health of LGBTIQ people.
Distributed by cohealth on behalf of the signatories to this statement:
Access Health & Community, Ballarat Community Health, Bellarine Community Health, Castlemaine District Community Health, Central Bayside Community Health Service, Cobaw Community Health, cohealth, Dianella, EACH, Gateway Community Health, Gippsland Lakes Community Health, IPC Health, Link Health and Community, Merri Health, Nexus Primary Health, North Richmond CH, Northern District Community Health, Plenty Valley Community Health, Primary Care connect, Star Health, Sunbury Community Health Centre, Sunraysia Community Health Services, Your Community Health
cohealth is a not-for-profit community health organisation that provides vital local health and support services including medical, dental, allied health, mental health, aged care and counselling, and many specialist health services across Melbourne’s CBD, northern and western suburbs.
cohealth responds to people’s needs by delivering a wide range of low cost, high-quality, accessible health care and support services. cohealth promotes health and wellbeing, works to prevent ill-health and better manage health conditions, and is a keen advocate for improved access to health care for all.