Jamaica’s oppressive anti-gay laws and discriminatory practices cost the workforce around $11 billion annually and make the minority group three times more vulnerable to mental-health illness, the Caribbean Policy Research Institute (CAPRI) has said.
Hostility towards gays is not only depleting the tourism-dependent country’s coffers of the pink dollar but is adding a huge financial burden to the island’s mental-health services, it was revealed.
“The incidence of mental health in the LGBT community is 69 per cent. It is more than triple the rate in the general population. Treating mental health costs Jamaica about $5 billion each year – only a third of which is public cost. The rest is a private cost. That $5 billion gives you a sense of what would be both the public and private savings that could be put to other uses if we were able to have a better attitude towards this marginalised group,” said Damien King, co-executive director of CAPRI, at a report launch at Knutsford Court yesterday evening.
According to data provided by CAPRI, discrimination alone adds $175 million to the cost of treating mental health among the LGBT community. But that was the smallest figure quoted by King last evening. Read more via Gleaner