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LGBTIQ people still face health inequalities: study

Mental health and family violence are among the issues contributing to health inequalities faced by LGBTIQ Victorians, according to new findings released by the Victorian Agency for Health Information.

Thorne Harbour Health has congratulated the Victorian Government on the release of these findings as a first in the state’s history, but the organisation said it hopes the stark findings will lead to systemic change and greater support for LGBTIQ Victorians.

“Our LGBTIQ communities are experiencing housing and financial insecurity, mental health distress, chronic disease, and family violence at significantly higher rates when compared to non-LGBTIQ Victorians,” said Thorne Harbour Health CEO Simon Ruth.

“These challenges need to be met with policy changes and service developments that are inclusive and affirming of LGBTIQ Victorians.”

The survey of over 34,000 people captured statistically significant findings about the health and wellbeing of LGBTIQ Victorians.

A significantly higher proportion of LGBTIQ adults had a total household income of less than $40,000 and could not raise $2,000 within two days in an emergency compared to non-LGBTIQ Victorians.

Almost a quarter of LGBTIQ adults had high or very high levels of psychological distress, and 44.8% had been diagnosed with anxiety and/or depression, compared to 26.7% of non-LGBTIQ adults.

Family violence had been experienced by 13.4% of LGBTIQ adults, compared to 5.4% of non-LGBTIQ adults.

“The findings from this survey give the Victorian Government valuable insight into the health status of our LGBTIQ communities, and it paints a clear picture – LGBTIQ Victorians are continuing to experience health inequality and we need to take action,” said Ruth.

“We strongly encourage the Victorian Government to consider these findings when implementing the reforms from the recent Family Violence Royal Commission and upcoming Mental Health Royal Commission.”

The survey also found that while a higher proportion of adults living in metropolitan Melbourne identified as LGBTIQ (6%), many LGBTIQ adults also live throughout regional and rural Victoria.

“We’re not just based in Melbourne, and this needs to be reflected in how we provide services and support to LGBTIQ Victorians living in regional and rural settings,” said Ruth.

“We envision a healthy future for our sex, sexuality, and gender diverse communities, where all Victorians can live with dignity and participate fully in society.

“We look forward to working with the Victorian Government as we move toward that future.”

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