Falling through the cracks: the gap between evidence and policy in responding to depression in gay, lesbian and other homosexually active people in Australia
Article first published online: 7 FEB 2012
© 2012 The Authors. ANZJPH © 2012 Public Health Association of Australia
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
Volume 36, Issue 1, pages 76–83, February 2012
How to Cite
Carman, M., Corboz, J. and Dowsett, G. W. (2012), Falling through the cracks: the gap between evidence and policy in responding to depression in gay, lesbian and other homosexually active people in Australia. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 36: 76–83. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-6405.2012.00828.x
- Issue published online: 7 FEB 2012
- Article first published online: 7 FEB 2012
- Submitted: June 2011 Revision requested: October 2011 Accepted: November 2011
- mental health;
- evidence-based practice
Objective: To examine the evidence for a national policy response to depression among gay, lesbian and other homosexually active people in Australia.
Methods: A literature review using database searches on depression among non-heterosexual people then a web-based search of national policy investigating how mental health needs in this population are addressed in Australia.
Results: The literature review found that non-heterosexual people experience depression at higher rates, but the literature on interventions was sparse.
The policy analysis found no mention of depression or the broader mental health needs of non-heterosexual people in key national mental health policy documents. These documents outline a policy approach for population groups with a higher prevalence of mental health problems, and stigma and discrimination are relevant associated factors, but only the National Suicide Strategy considers non-heterosexual people an ‘at-risk group’.
Conclusions: The results suggest that the evidence on higher rates of depression in non-heterosexual people is strong, but that this is not recognised in current national policy.
Implications: Defining non-heterosexual people as an ‘at-risk’ group is appropriate, as is prioritising access to mental health services that are socially and culturally appropriate. Addressing homophobia as an associated factor would require a strategic policy approach across a range of sectors.