Today, on World Mental Health Day, the Australian College of Nursing (ACN) acknowledges the impact that the current debate on marriage equality has on the mental health of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, and intersex (LGBTQI) community.
“ACN strongly supports equality for all. It is a fundamental human right and we condemn any kind of discrimination, be it on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender or disability,” said Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN, CEO of ACN.
There is a clear link between mental health and equality. People who identify as LGBTQI have the highest rates of suicide and significantly poorer mental health outcomes than the wider population.
It has been shown that implementation of same-sex marriage policies is associated with a significant decrease in the proportion of high school students attempting suicide, as well as improving overall health outcomes and reducing health costs of the LGBTQI community.
“We respect the right of each of our members to have and express their own personal views on this issue and point out that nurses are bound by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia’s Code of Ethics for Nurses in Australia that recognises universal human rights and the moral responsibility to safeguard the inherent dignity and equal worth of everyone. We have a long history of caring for people where others have been either unable or unwilling and we absolutely believe that equality is a critical component of health,” explained Adjunct Professor Ward.
ACN urges the Australian Government to consider the impact on the mental health of the LGBTQI population when deliberating marriage equality policy.
For interviews contact ACN Executive Assistant Narelle Barrie on 02 6283 3459 or Kristen Connell on 0400 054 227.