NAPSA has called on pharmacy to help reduce the health impact of social inequality on LGBTQI+ Australians

During the Marriage Law Survey, the National Association of Pharmacy Students of Australia has issued a statement on social inequality in which it outlines its position that “equality should be a standard set for everyone”.

“Equality is defined in the Oxford dictionary as ‘the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, or opportunities,” NAPSA states.

“Embracing diversity, in gender, race, religion and sexual orientation goes hand in hand with this equality.

“As a progressing society the disparities evident in the level of healthcare provided to those of different sexual orientation is substandard.

“Those in the LGBTQI+ community are constantly faced with increased and avertable mental health problems.

“This is something that may seem insignificant to those not directly affected but is having an immense impact on the lives of those in the LGBTQI+ community.

“This discrimination has continued for many years and denying individuals of these basic human rights needs to come to an end.”

NAPSA says that it firmly believes in equality for everyone, in healthcare and beyond.

However, “currently the LGBTQI+ community experience significant health inequalities, particularly when it comes to mental health,” NAPSA points out.

“Same-sex attracted Australians have been found to have rates of suicidal ideation 14 times higher than their heterosexual peers, and experience anxiety disorders more than twice as frequently (Rosenstreich, 2013).

“There is evidence that social inequalities can have a significantly negative impact on mental health. In the US, following amendments to marriage laws to reflect a ban on same-sex marriage, it was found that the LGBTQI+ community experienced significant increases in alcohol abuse (41.9%), mood disorders (36.6%), and generalised anxiety disorders (248%) (Hatzenbuehler, 2010) .

“If social equality can create better health outcomes, then shouldn’t we as health professionals be working together to achieve this mutual goal?

“Pharmacists have a unique opportunity to contribute on a greater level. So it is time to join together, to move forward in healthcare and reduce the stigma and discrimination surrounding the LGBTQI+ community.”

NAPSA also has a statement on equality in health care on its website, posted earlier in the year.

The Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey is underway and Australians eligible to participate have until November 7 to do so. The survey results will be published on the ABS website on 15 November 2017.

References

Rosenstreich, G., 2013 . LGBTI People Mental Health & Suicide.

Hatzenbuehler, M., 2010. The Impact of Institutional Discrimination on Psychiatric Disorders in Lesibian, Gay, and Bisexual Populations: A Prospective Study.