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Seeking facts in the gay-marriage vote

ReachOut chief executive Jono Nicholas, pictured with his sons, says mental health groups want to inject facts into the gay marriage debate. Picture: Toby Zerna
ReachOut chief executive Jono Nicholas, pictured with his sons, says mental health groups want to inject facts into the gay marriage debate. Picture: Toby Zerna

Leading mental health groups are joining the Yes campaign claiming that making same-sex marriage legal could prevent up to 3000 youth suicide attempts a year.

The five groups - ReachOut, Headspace, Orygen, the Black Dog Institute and Sydney University's Brain and Mind Centre - will launch a campaign today which aims to put facts and research at the forefront of the emotional debate, Fairfax Media reports.

It comes as mental health service providers say the public debate on gay marriage has led to a spike in demand for their services.

The groups' #mindthefacts campaign will point to research by American mental health experts which found high school suicide attempts dropped by 7 per cent when same-sex marriage was made legal.

Based on that figure and Australian government statistics on youth suicide attempts, the group claims introducing same-sex marriage could prevent about 3000 attempts among 12 to 17-year-olds per year.

Campaign spokesman Jono Nicholas, chief executive of ReachOut, told Fairfax Media the groups wanted Australians to have access to clinical evidence and research in the gay marriage debate and "not alternate facts and fiction".

"As Australia's leading youth mental health organisations, we see, hear and feel the real and devastating link between LGBTIQ discrimination and youth suicide rates and mental illness every day," he said.

"This has only been heightened by the decision to proceed with this postal survey, despite our warnings."

Topics:  black dog institute editors picks headspace mental health postal vote same-sex marriage

News Corp Australia


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