By Jordan Hirst Australian health organisations have pledged urgent action after a new national study has revealed "disturbing" rates of anxiety and depression within the Australian LGBT community.
The study revealed that 80 percent of the 3800 respondents experienced at least one episode of "intense anxiety" in the past year. Over a quarter were diagnosed with an anxiety disorder that same year.
The results show the mental health of LGBT Australians to be poorer than the rest of the population, with the statistics showing the average mental health of trangender Australians to be even poorer than lesbians and gay men.
"The most common health conditions among participants were depression and anxiety/nervous disorders," researcher Liam Leonard said.
A significant percentage of those surveyed 'occasionally' or 'usually' hid their sexuality or gender identity in a range of situations for fear of abuse or discimination, with 16 to 24 year olds the likeliest age group to hide their sexuality.
The study, titled Private Lives 2, is the second in a series of LGBT health and wellbeing studies that began in 2006. La Trobe University, Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria, the Movember Foundation and depression and anxiety organisation beyondblue jointly managed the study.
Paul Martin, executive director of Healthy Communities Queensland, told QNews the study reveals the LGBT community's needs with regards to health.
"A focus on law reform, reducing abuse and discrimination, promoting mental health and wellness and access to culturally appropriate services is crucial to repair the damage done to generations of LGBT people and prevent further harm," he said. "We need investment in LGBT specific services which add value and work in partnership with mainstream services, helping them to be more LGBT-inclusive."
beyondblue have flagged the LGBT community as a "priority" group for 2012 and have pledged to take action on the study's findings.
By Jordan Hirst
Australian health organisations have pledged urgent action after a new national study has revealed "disturbing" rates of anxiety and depression within the Australian LGBT community.