Year: 2000 Source: Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, v.34, no.2, (April 2000), p.256-263 SIEC No: 20010545

The objectives of this study were to describe the mental health of lesbians in New Zealand & to document accounts of their experiences of mental health services. A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted. A postal questionnaire was distributed via lesbian newsletters to 1222 women throughout New Zealand with an estimated response rate of 50.8%. 80% of respondents had used mental health services sometime in their life & nearly 30% of users had received “lesbian-unfriendly” treatment at some point. Half the respondents said they had had serious thoughts about attempting suicide & 114 respondents said they had attempted suicide at some time. Of those who had attempted suicide, 92 had done so before the age of 25. It is concluded health professionals need to raise their awareness of the mental health issues faced by lesbians. (34 refs.)