• Over 40% of LGBTQIA youth seeking help from mental health hotlines are at high risk of suicide. (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
New research by mental health group ReachOut says that more than 40% of LGBTQIA+ youth seeking help right now are at high risk of suicide.
Chloe Sargeant

29 Sep 2017 - 11:36 AM  UPDATED 29 Sep 2017 - 11:36 AM

Mental health group ReachOut has released new research about the country's LGBTQIA youth, and their vulnerability at the present time in Australia.

A study of nearly 2,000 young people showed that a large percentage of young LGBTQIA Australians - between the ages of 16 and 25 - currently seeking help from ReachOut were at a high risk of suicide.

From the 1,950 participants that disclosed their sexuality, 1,268 identified as heterosexual, and 682 identified as being within the LGBTQIA community.

The study asked participants to used a standardised measure for suicidal ideation, called the Suicidal Ideation Questionnaire (SIQ), which showed that 42.7 per cent of LGBTQIA people who contacted Reach Out were at high risk of suicide. This was nearly double the rate of their heterosexual peers, who showed 23.1 per cent were at high risk of suicide. 

The study showed that the top three reasons that LGBTQIA youth contacted ReachOut were depression, anxiety, and suicide, while suicide did not feature in the top three reasons that heterosexual people contacted the group. 

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ReachOut CEO Jono Nicholas said that the results of the study showed that LGBTQIA youth were an extremely vulnerable group, and reiterated that mental health groups and hotlines were understandably concerned about spikes in young people seeking help during the current same-sex marriage postal survey. 

Nicholas said in a statement that ReachOut are asking people to vote 'Yes' in the survey, in order to lessen discrimination against LGBTQIA Australians. 

“There’s been a lot of distractions and political games this campaign, but there’s one fact Australians can’t ignore - a Vote ‘Yes’ for marriage equality will help reduce the negative impacts discrimination is currently having on the mental health of young LGBTIQ people and hopefully save lives,” he said.

“Some of these statistics are confronting, but so are the mental health impacts of trauma and discrimination, including this ongoing debate, on LGBTIQ young people, their family and friends.

“If you’re unsure or uncomfortable with the whole topic, then we simply ask people to #mindthefacts and ask themselves how they would feel if they were blocked from marrying the person they love. 

"Chances are you’d feel discriminated against too, which is why we’re asking people to Vote ‘Yes’.” 

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