LGBTIQ patients in general practice

Paul Hayes

25/10/2017 12:00:00 AM

‘The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners [RACGP] supports marriage equality.’ 
RACGP President Dr Bastian Seidel has made the college’s position on same-sex marriage clear. 

RACGP supports marriage equality
RACGP supports marriage equality

While he and the rest of Council ‘recognise the absolute right of all RACGP members to hold and express their own personal views on this matter’, they also understand the ongoing debate about the issue has heightened discrimination against LGBTIQ people, potentially having a negative impact on mental and physical health of affected individuals.

This has been borne out in reports of an increase in this patient population accessing mental health support in recent weeks. As the frontline of care in Australia, GPs have a key role to play in helping LGBTIQ patients during the marriage-equality debate.
‘GPs are trusted to treat all LGBTIQ patients with the utmost respect and dignity, regardless of one's own personal or religious beliefs,’ Dr Seidel said. ‘We urge members to provide particular care and consideration to LGBTIQ groups during this trying period, and for themselves through the General Practice Mental Health Standards Collaboration [GPMHSC] and the RACGP GP Support Program.’
Resources for GPs and LGBTQI patients
The National LGBTI Health Alliance offers a number of professional development, education and training courses. Other resources include:

  • QLife – counselling and referral service for LGBTIQ people that provides early intervention, peer-supported phone and web-based services to people of all ages
  • Wingmen – mental health support hub for gay men
  • Carer Gateway – national online and phone service that provides practical information and resources for carers
  • MindOUT – develops and delivers national suicide-prevention initiatives aimed at building the capacity of the mental health and suicide prevention sectors to meet the support and wellbeing needs of LGBTIQ populations
  • Silver Rainbow – provides national coordination and support activities promoting the wellbeing of older LGBTIQ people and the delivery of the awareness training to the aged care sector
  • headspace – provides early-intervention mental health services to people aged 12–25, including a number of resources for LGBTIQ people
  • beyondblue – provides several mental health resources for LGBTIQ people
  • ReachOut – online mental health organisation for young people and their parents that provides practical support, tools and tips, including for LGBTIQ people
In addition, Dr George Forgan-Smith, a gay inner-Melbourne GP with interests in male health, mental health and health promotion, has his own YouTube channel where he uploads videos designed to help healthcare professionals better understand matters of LGBTQI health.
‘I make videos to try and get people to that level [of comfort asking difficult/embarrassing questions] so they don’t appear embarrassed,’ he told newsGP. ‘They might be burning red on the inside, but as long as the patients doesn’t see that, it’s a good thing.’

LGBTIQ marriage-equality RACGP same-sex-marriage

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