In case there was any doubt about how harmful the marriage equality debate can be, national mental health service ReachOut has seen a 20 per cent rise in young people accessing LGBTI support services during the postal survey period.
ReachOut CEO Jono Nicholas told the ABC more people have been contacting the service since the vote was announced, expressing anxiety about the debate and potential result.
“We’re certainly hearing things around young people saying ‘am I a freak’, ‘will I be accepted?’,” Nicholas said.
He went on to say social media has only exacerbated feelings of alienation in young Australians and their parents, making it difficult for the debate to be carried out in a respectful way.
A skywriter wrote a “Vote No” message in the sky above Sydney on Sunday. If you’d like to support the “Yes” campaign, you can host your own calling event or participate in one of the nation’s largest doorknocking campaigns. Many Australian businesses are publicly supporting marriage equality with colourful statements.
ReachOut offers online support for young people and their families across a broad range of mental health issues.
Those seeking help can contact ReachOut.com or the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.