Same-sex marriage could improve mental health

Same-sex marriage could improve mental health

By Rachel O'Rourke

Psychologists in Australia have called for federal politicians to change the law to allow same-sex marriage on the grounds of mental health and wellbeing. 

The Australian Psychological Society (APS), which represents 20,000 psychologists across the country, urged a change in the Marriage Act, citing new evidence that marriage is good for mental health. The evidence also concluded that the social exclusion and discrimination faced by homosexuals is damaging to a person’s sense of wellbeing. 

The APS research is the latest entry into the political debate in Australia over same-sex marriage, which will resume when the Labour MP Stephen Jones introduces a private member’s bill for marriage equality into parliament early next year. 

President of APS, Simon Crowe, said the society was following the lead of its counterpart in America, the American Psychological Society, who backed same-sex marriage in August 2011. 

He told The Australian: "Decades of psychological research provides the evidence linking marriage to mental health benefits, and highlighting the harm to individuals' mental health of social exclusion. 

"The APS supports the full recognition of same-sex relationships, on the basis of this evidence."

Australian Marriage Equality spokesperson Rodney Croome welcomed the statement, according to the new source. He said: “The APS statement sends a clear message to all federal MPs: if you support better mental health outcomes for Australian families then you must support marriage equality.

"It shows marriage equality is not an abstract issue but a reform that will have concrete benefits for a significant number of Australians."

Earlier this month, the American Journal of Public Health reported along similar lines, stating that gay marriage could improve health and decrease stress levels, particularly in men. 

The research, conducted by US health researchers, concluded that legalising same-sex marriage could create a healthier environment after the number of visits by gay men to health clinics dropped significantly after same-sex unions were made legal in the state Massachusetts.

According to the BBC, A UK HIV charity said there was a clear link between happiness and health.

Research has already proven in the past that gay men are more likely to suffer from depression and suicidal thoughts than heterosexual men, and that social exclusion may be partly responsible.

No votes yet