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Mental Health Foundation comes out for equality

Mon 29 Oct 2012 In: New Zealand Daily News

Judi Clements The Mental Health Foundation has made a submission to the select committee considering marriage equality, saying the move would positive impact the mental health and wellbeing of New Zealanders. Chief Executive Judi Clements says sexual and gender minorities experience significantly poorer mental health than other New Zealanders. She says discrimination is a key determinant of sexual and gender minorities’ mental health and wellbeing, pointing out sexual and gender minorities in experience higher rates of depression, anxiety, substance abuse and suicide than other New Zealanders, and this is of great concern. "Discriminatory laws imply that these individuals’ identities are not acceptable, and that they thus deserve fewer rights," Clements says. "The poor mental health outcomes we have been seeing in our Rainbow communities may improve with increased social and legal acceptance of, and value toward, their relationships." The Foundation points to research in California has shown that gay men who are legally married are less likely than other gay men to be depressed and more likely to “flourish”, which means to feel relaxed, calm, peaceful, and hopeful for the future. The same benefits were not observed in gay men in domestic partnerships. The Foundation has a goal to help all New Zealanders to “flourish” and says the current conditions of legally-sanctioned discrimination toward same-sex couples a significant population of New Zealanders are unable to do so. It says the bill will be another step in respecting and valuing all people, and fostering equal citizenship for sexual and gender minorities.    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Monday, 29th October 2012 - 5:45pm

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