2020 Snapshot – LGBTI Health Alliance

National LGBTI Health Alliance: 2020 Snapshot of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Statistics for LGBTI People.

The National LGBTI Health Alliance (the Alliance) is the national peak health organisation in Australia for organisations and individuals that provide health-related programs, services and research focused on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people (LGBTI) and other sexuality, gender, and bodily diverse people and communities. We recognise that people’s genders, bodies, relationships, and sexualities affect their health and wellbeing in every domain of their life.

Formed in 2007, the Alliance includes the major providers of services for LGBTI people in Australia, with Members drawn from each State and Territory. The Alliance provides a representative national voice to: develop policy and to support LGBTI health issues; seek increased commitment to services for LGBTI people; develop the capacities of LGBTI organisations; and support evidence-based decision-making through improved data collection covering sexuality, sex and gender identity. 

Although many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) Australians live healthy and happy lives, research has demonstrated that a disproportionate number experience poorer mental health outcomes and have higher risk of suicidal behaviours than their peers. These health outcomes are directly related to experiences of stigma, prejudice, discrimination and abuse on the basis of being LGBTI. This document aims to provide a snapshot of what is known of the current mental health and wellbeing outcomes of LGBTI people in Australia.

While Australian and international research provide evidence that demonstrate significant concern regarding mental health outcomes and suicidal behaviours among LGBTI people, significant knowledge gaps remain.

This is due to a continued lack of inclusion of sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status in population researching and data collection in mental health services. This exclusion has resulted in LGBTI Australians not receiving a ‘fair share’ in mental health and suicide prevention policies, strategies and programs. 

Consequently, the national evidence on the health and wellbeing of LGBTI populations relies upon a limited number of studies, with methodological issues relating to representative data collection and data analysis, and cannot therefore represent a holistic picture of LGBTI people. Additionally, research that groups LGBTI people into a single group for analysis risks conflation and reaching conclusions that are not representative.

This document includes a range of language beyond that typically used by the National LGBTI Health Alliance. This is to directly reflect the terminology and classifications used by the various research papers used as source data in this document. Across this research, there is often little uniformity of demographic information or definitions of mental health concerns that supports direct comparison between LGBTI populations and the general population.

We urge the reader to consider this broader context in which adequately estimating the mental health outcomes and suicidal behaviours for LGBTI populations remains highly challenging.

2020 Snapshot of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Statistics for LGBTI People – LGBTI Health Alliance