A petition will seek to force beyondblue to comprehensively address mental health issues in the gay and lesbian community.
Community anger over the national depression initiative’s lack of GLBTI issues in its draft Clinical Practice Guidelines on Depression in Adolescents and Young Adults is growing as activists look for ways for the public to express its disappointment.
The petition, organised by John Mitchell, brother of gay rights advocate Rob Mitchell who’s decried the guidelines, gives the GLBTI community a platform to air its frustrations.
“I think to not have [GLBTI youth] in the guidelines as an ‘at risk’ group is unacceptable,” Mitchell told Southern Star. “I know quite a few people who know people who’ve committed suicide and they’re all gay.”
Mitchell said he has received many personal messages with the petition including one from a bisexual woman who said early intervention may have saved her from years of depression.
The petition already has 170 signatures and will be sent to beyondblue.
LGBT Health Alliance director Gabi Rosenstreich said the draft guidelines had “fallen well short” and the alliance would make a formal submission for more inclusion.
“We’re very disappointed,” she said. “There’s plenty of evidence of specific issues on sexuality, sex and gender diversity, and indeed beyondblue have themselves done a review of that research.”
Rosenstreich revealed discussion on GLBTI mental health issues was still occurring, “very slowly”, after a December roundtable with beyondblue and community activists.
“Beyondblue need to be able to consult effectively with the LGBT sector when they’re actually developing guidelines,” she said.
“They’re consulting now, but it would have been helpful if that consultation could have happened at an earlier stage so the community sector’s input [could] actually go in and be taken into account.”
Only one study relating to gay and lesbian depression was included out of a reported 57,000 studies used to develop the guidelines.
The beyondblue guidelines are open for public submissions until May 12.
info: The petition deadline is April 29.