Researchers at Curtin University in Perth have begun conducting Australia’s first nation-wide study into the mental health of transgender and transsexual people.
Over a 12 month period in 2007 it was discovered that trans people were five times more likely to have been diagnosed with depression than the rest of the population.
Principal Investigator Dr Zoë Hyde said the aim of the study is to obtain a national snapshot of the health of trans people in Australia.
“I think we will find that the story is similar nationally and that one of the biggest reasons for this will be the difficulty that trans people face in finding appropriate medical care,” Dr Hyde said.
“We know that many trans people struggle to find doctors who are willing and have the necessary skills to provide hormone therapy.
“This is a great shame, because providing hormone therapy to trans people is not really much different to providing hormone therapy for menopause or for men with low testosterone levels.
“Another problem is the stigma that trans people often face. Many people do not understand what it means to be trans, and trans people often face discrimination and sometimes violence.”
The study is being funded by a research grant from beyondblue.
beyondblue CEO Kate Carnell said she hopes the information gained from the survey will assist service providers in planning and developing mental health programs for trans people.
“beyondblue is proud to be supporting this important research. We are aiming to improve the mental health of people in the community and build an evidence base about the most effective ways to prevent and treat depression and anxiety,” she said.
Dr Hyde said her team were delighted when they found out their study was going to be funded by beyondblue’s National Priority Driven Research Program.
“Research into trans health has been neglected for so long, so it’s really great to see beyondblue getting behind this project,” Dr Hyde said.
“I think this will help to raise the profile of this important issue.”
The on line survey is open until 31 December 2013. For more information on the study visit www.transoz.org.