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Survey Shines Spotlight on Continuing Anxiety, Discrimination

A follow-up study to a major national survey first conducted six years ago on the health and wellbeing of GLBT Australians has found that almost 80 per cent of GLBT people have experienced at least one episode of intense anxiety in the past 12 months and that many of them continue to face higher levels of abuse and discrimination.\n

Avatar of Alessia Valenza

13th April 2012 01:25

Alessia Valenza | ILGA Oceania

The Private Lives 2 study, managed jointly by La Trobe University’s Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS) along with Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria, was launched on Tuesday in Melbourne by Victoria’s Minister for Mental Health, Mary Wooldridge, and beyondblue chairman Jeff Kennett.

The survey builds on the findings of the first Private Lives report published in 2006 which explored the impact of systemic discrimination on GLBT Australians’ quality of life and their use of health services.

Over 4,000 GLBT people took part in the research for Private Lives 2, with key findings showing that young people aged 16-24 are more likely than any other age group to hide their sexuality or gender identity, while about 30 per cent of GLBT people surveyed said their regular GP was not aware of their sexuality.

Over a quarter of respondents also said they had been diagnosed with, or treated for, an anxiety disorder in the past 12 months.

Liam Leonard, a research fellow with ARCSHS, said that the latest survey did show an increased acceptance of GLBT people and marginal improvements in their general health.

“It also shows GLBT people continue to experience much higher levels of abuse and discrimination,” Leonard said.

“A likely outcome of this is the poorer mental health participants had compared with the population at large.”

Relationship recognition was important for many of the survey participants, Leonard added, with the study finding that over a third of participants wanting to or planning to formalise their relationships.

Kennett says the findings were in line with other research beyondblue had funded.

“This research strengthens our resolve to continue our work with this community to reduce discrimination and improve help-seeking,” Kennett said.

‘Mid-year, with the support of our GLBTI Reference Group, we will be launching an awareness campaign to address some of the disturbing statistics highlighted in this report.”

The Private Lives 2 report was supported by beyondblue with funds from The Movember Foundation, with additional funds also provided by the Victorian Government and a La Trobe University faculty grant.