OutRight Action International Statement for World Mental Health Day

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

8 October 2020

Media Contact: Daina Ruduša, commsteam@outrightinternational.org, +1 (917) 622-1865

OutRight Action International Statement for World Mental Health Day

October 10 is World Mental Health Day, a day which is all too relevant for the LGBTIQ community. Globally LGBTIQ people remain among the most marginalized and hated groups in society, too often lacking acceptance even from family members. Studies show that LGBTIQ people are more than twice as likely to experience mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation than the general population. Although these numbers are decreasing as societal acceptance grows, they are still much too high. 

Discriminatory attitudes also result in affirmative mental health support being, too often, unavailable. Continuing perceptions of LGBTIQ people as pathological - despite homosexuality having been removed from the international classification of diseases in 1990, and transgender identities being removed from the same list in 2019 -  lead to a scourge of “conversion therapy” practices which amplify existing mental health challenges while also in and of themselves causing deep, irreparable harm. Moreover, mental health practitioners - the very people who should be supporting us to overcome mental health challenges - are among the top perpetrators of these practices, willingly and knowingly inflicting psychological and physical harm.

Despite the amplified mental health issues LGBTIQ people face, we are also invisible in the conversation about breaking stigma and taking a stand for mental health. This World Mental Health Day we need to start changing that. 

On Friday, October 9, at 6pm EST, joined by actor Stephen Fry, we will be taking part in the first virtual March for Mental Health organized by United for Global Mental Health. 

Sarah Kline, Co-Founder and Deputy CEO of United for Global Mental Health, highlights the importance of including an LGBTIQ hour at this event:

“The unique mental health challenges faced by LGBTQI+ communities have for far too long been overlooked. We know that LGBTQI+ people are more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety and stress, and face additional inequalities, especially for those from racial and ethnic minority communities or those living with HIV, chronic illnesses, or disabilities. It is crucial to have these communities and their lived experience as part of the global conversation on mental health."

Actor Stephen Fry is joining us for LGBTIQ hour of the march. He emphasizes: 

“There are many mental health issues faced especially by young people as they struggle to come to terms with their sexual identity, to be out to friends and family. And there are those who are victim to the appalling violence that is called "conversion therapy" that not only doesn't work, but is led by total ignorance and misunderstanding, hatred and fear. Shockingly there are only 5 countries who have banned this abuse, and this has to change, which is why we are putting a spotlight on it this World Mental Health Day.”

Join us at the March for Mental Health at 6pm EST for LGBTIQ hour to break the stigma surrounding mental health issues, to elevate the voices of LGBTIQ people in this discussion, to call for an end to “conversion therapy” and increased availability of affirmative mental health support for LGBTIQ people everywhere.

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OutRight

OutRight Action International works at a global, regional and national level to eradicate the persecution, inequality, and violence lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer (LGBTIQ) people face around the world. From its offices in 7 countries and headquarters in New York, OutRight builds capacity of LGBTIQ movements, documents human rights violations, advocates for inclusion and equality, and holds leaders accountable for protecting the rights of LGBTIQ people everywhere. OutRight has recognized consultative status at the United Nations.