Professor Malcolm Hopwood
The President of RANZCP, Professor Malcolm Hopwood

Mental health professionals are concerned that a “disproportionate number” of LGBTI people battle mental illness.

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP), the organization that represents psychiatry across Australia and New Zealand, released a statement supporting marriage equality.

Statistics surrounding the mental health of LGBTI individuals show that “a disproportionate number of Australia and New Zealand’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex population experience mental illness and psychological distress.”

RANZCP announced their support while highlighting the link between legal equality and improved health.

The President of RANZCP, Professor Malcolm Hopwood said, “Legislative inequality has a significant and deleterious impact on mental health. Conversely, there is a strong link between improved health outcomes and legislation change.”

The statement also highlights that LGBTI individuals are 14 times more likely to experience suicidal ideation and that one in six LGBTI youth has attempted suicide.

Hopwood went onto using New Zealand as an example of the positive outcomes of marriage equality. “Our members in New Zealand have noted a swell of positive support for same-sex couples in the development and implementation of the same-sex marriage act. I anticipate the same would occur in Australia and it would be immensely beneficial to the people concerned.

The support has been welcomed by Australian Marriage Equality with long-term activist Rodney Croome saying, “The RANZCP is a widely respected organization and its statement will have a significant impact on the attitudes of lawmakers and on everyday Australians alike.”