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Religious Freedom Review recommendations raise concerns for LGBTQ mental health

18 October 2018
 
 
 
In response to recent media reports arising from the Religious Freedom Review, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists is concerned that changes enshrining further discrimination are likely to increase the mental health problems for people in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) communities.

The leaked report, in particular recommendations 5 and 7, call on the Australian government to amend the Sex Discrimination Act to allow religious schools to discriminate against students and teachers on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or relationship status.

‘The RANZCP fears that discrimination of LGBTQ people is likely to increase the mental health problems in their community’, said RANZCP President, Dr Kym Jenkins.

‘People who identify as LGBTQ are already at increased risk of exposure to institutionalised and interpersonal discrimination.’ 

The RANZCP considers that increasing stress on an already vulnerable population, especially children and adolescents, will further impact their mental health and wellbeing, and lead to poorer mental health outcomes.

The RANZCP urges the federal government to give full consideration to these matters in its official response to the Religious Freedom Review.

For more information, see: Position Statement 83: Recognising and addressing the mental health needs of the LGBTI population.
 
ENQUIRIES: Andy Newton at media@ranzcp.org or +61 437 315 911

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists is a membership organisation that prepares medical specialists in the field of psychiatry, supports and enhances clinical practice, advocates for people affected by mental illness and advises governments on mental health care. For information about our work, our members or our history, visit www.ranzcp.org.

If you or someone you know needs help, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or www.lifeline.org.au or the Suicide Callback Service on 1300 659 467 or www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au.