Australian same-sex marriage survey strains mental health services

Opposition leader Bill Shorten has called on the Prime Minister to provide emergency funding for mental health services.
Opposition leader Bill Shorten has called on the Prime Minister to provide emergency funding for mental health services. Photo credit: Rueters

Australian mental health services are reporting a spike in demand from LGBT people in the midst of the same-sex marriage postal survey, and there are fears it could get worse.

Among the groups under pressure is online youth service ReachOut, which has reported a 20 percent increase in demand since August. 

Young people have reported they are feeling scared and finding it difficult to cope with discriminatory remarks, Fairfax reports

The non-binding postal survey asks voters whether they support the legalisation of same-sex marriage, and it was given the green light by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. 

Opposition leader Bill Shorten has called on Mr Turnbull to urgently increase funding for mental health services, telling the Prime Minister he was warned the survey could be damaging. 

Mr Shorten told Fairfax: "This is his survey, and it's his responsibility to ensure services are equipped to deal with this unprecedented demand." 

The Australian Mental Health Commission says in a press release the debate has heightened discrimination against LGBT people and the commission "is alarmed about the potential negative health impacts these debates are having on individuals, couples and families who face scrutiny and judgement".

Newshub.