A spike in demand, and online abuse, hits LGBTIQ youth service

A number of mental health groups nationwide have this week flagged a spike in demand for their services as Marriage Law Postal Survey campaigning kicks into gear.

Open Doors Youth Service Inc, a Brisbane based group providing advocacy and support services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, asexual and/or transgender, Intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) young people aged 12 to 24 and their families in South East Queensland, is no exception. 

The group has reported a 20 percent increase in engagement through their online and phone services and expect it to "get worse as the hate talk increases."

As part of a resilience support program to help young people over the postal survey period benefactors have agreed to match certain donations made to Open Doors dollar for dollar to assist with the increased need for services, a need they see extending well beyond November into January of next year.

When the group shared this on their Facebook page, they—along with the families and young LGBTIQ people who engage with them online—were exposed to the full force of what was promised to be 'respectful' debate. 

For one of Australia's top mental health experts, there is little doubt that the increase is linked to the postal survey campaign.

Professor Patrick McGorry, executive director of Orygen, the National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, told Fairfax Media "we are hearing a lot from LGBTIQ people that this is reviving traumatic experiences, particularly from their school years."

"Australia is on the threshold of something really positive but we do have to manage the risk to vulnerable people over the course of the debate."

4ZZZ News spoke to Pam Barker, General Manager at Open Doors Youth Service.

 

Image: Pixabay

Follow Matt Dennien on Twitter @mattdennien