CNN's Bianca Nobilo speaks with Marci Ien, Canada's Minister for Women and Gender Equality, after lawmakers in the country's House of Commons unanimously passed a bill banning conversion therapy practices.
'It is torture': Canada's lower house passes passes bill banning conversion therapy
03:01 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

So-called conversion therapy causes serious emotional harm to LGBTQ people and can even be deadly, but it also comes with a high financial cost to individuals and to society as a whole, according to a new study.

The study, published Monday in the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics, analyzed 28 earlier studies about conversion therapy, which attempts to convert people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning into straight or cisgender people.

The practice, also known as reparative or sexual orientation change efforts, has been discredited by every major professional association that deals with mental health. The assumption that someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity can be changed is not based on medical or scientific evidence, according to the American Medical Association. In fact, the practice can lead to serious harm.

Conversion therapy is banned in at least 20 states and several cities across the country, but several bills have been introduced to preserve the practice or even to repeal the bans.

Affirmative therapy would save billions of dollars, study says

The study found that people who underwent conversion therapy had serious psychological distress, had significantly higher rates of depression and substance use problems, and attempted suicide more.

Over a lifetime, the estimated cost of this therapy amounts to nearly $100,000 per person, the researchers found. When compared with no intervention, affirmative therapy – psychotherapy that validates positive expression of sexual and gender identity – yielded cost savings of more than $40,000 per person, the study estimated.

Direct costs include costs of treatment, health outcomes and mortality; indirect c