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Conversion therapy and its devastating effects cost the US $9bn ...

World

Conversion therapy and its devastating effects cost the US $9bn a year

Discredited therapy results in anxiety, depression and suicide attempts which account for the majority of the costs

Kelsey Butler

In a first-of-its-kind look at the financial impact of LGBTQ conversion therapy in the US, new research shows the practice creates an economic burden of $9bn (R140bn) annually.

Researchers said the yearly direct cost of conversion therapy performed on LGBTQ young people — including payment of services, health insurance reimbursements or fees to religious organisations that perform the practice —  totals $650m (R10bn), found the study, published by medical journal JAMA paediatrics. Indirectly, conversion therapy costs $8.58bn (R132bn) annually due to the expense of treating effects such as anxiety, depression, suicide attempts or substance abuse, the paper said.

Conversion therapy, sometimes called reparative therapy or sexual orientation and gender identity change efforts, is a discredited practice aimed at attempting to convert individuals to be heterosexual or cisgender, or both. Nearly 700,000 LGBTQ adults have undergone it as minors, according to a 2019 study by the Williams Institute, which researches sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy. In a recent survey of nearly 35,000 LGBTQ young people, 13% reported receiving conversion therapy, according to the Trevor Project, a non-profit focused on suicide prevention efforts among LGBTQ youth...

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