Depression in Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual
Learn all about mental health problems and disorders in lesbian, gay and bisexual. What to do if you are gay and have depression? Answers to all questions you can find in this article.
According to a study published in the Journal of Public Health by UK researchers, gay and bisexual men who are younger than 26 years old are two times more likely to experience depression. In this state, they are seven times more likely to attempt suicide or inflict self-harm. Although the LGBT community makes up a small percentage of the general population, it’s important to provide them with help and support. Research and studies can help to provide a practical approach to understand and manage their patterns of mental problems.
Mental Problems in Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual
Anxiety, depression and suicidal feelings are the norm in youth who are gays and lesbians. As a result, the rates of alcohol and drug use are higher among them. The poor levels of mental health in this subpopulation has always been linked to homophobic bullying and discrimination. This makes them fear to disclose their sexuality, especially when seeking medical attention. Plus, some factors such as religion and ethnicity that can further intensify their mental distress. In most cases, gay people experience mental problems because of rejection and hostility from family and friends and bullying at school. Harassment, violence, negative portrayal, lack of protection, and homophobic comments are other factors that aggravate their conditions. When this happens, they tend to isolate themselves, and this can even be more hostile to them considering they’re already depressed.
Experiencing these difficulties mean that gay and bisexual people are vulnerable to various mental health issues, such as:
- difficulty accepting who they’re and their sexual orientation;
- struggling to keep their sexual orientation secret;
- low-self esteem;
- high risk of suicidal feelings and self-harm;
- damaged relationships with friends and family;
- post-traumatic stress disorder due to long-term bullying;
- issues with premature ejaculation due to depression.
Some mental problems might also be worse in those gay people that are suffering from HIV.
Depression In Gay
In the U.S., depression in one of the most common mental disorders that affect millions of people every year. But, depression in gay people is even worse. The LGBT youth have higher rates of depression than the heterosexual population. They face fear and hatred in the community, school, and at home. It’s always a challenge for them to come out to friends, teachers, classmates, and family members.
As a result, most people tend to keep their sexuality hidden, and this increases the risk of psychological distress. This also makes it hard for them to access group-based resources that help to protect them against the effects of stigma and prejudice. Depression can have various signs such as depressed mood, weight change, fatigue, sense of worthlessness, poor sleeping and eating patterns, and poor concentration.
Finding ways to overcome depression is important to your health and general life. Societal stigma, internalized homophobia, religion, and family rejection can be really suppressing. However, you can rise against these obstacles and accept yourself. Ideally, the first step towards getting peace of mind is acceptance, and this will make you feel more comfortable around other people.
What Does Statistics Say?
According to a report released by Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) in 2013, up to 55 percent of LGBT youth reported that they feel unsafe at school due to their sexual orientation. The report also showed that 37 percent feared to express their gender openly and freely. UP to 64 percent usually face verbal harassment due to their sexuality while about 16 percent are victims of physical assault.
Due to these difficulties, an estimated 20 to 30 percent of LGBT people abuse substances, compared to about 9 percent of the general population. Also, 25 percent of the LGBT are into alcohol abuse, compared to about 5 to 10 percent of the general population. Another study also revealed that about 38 to 65 percent of gays and transgender people that experience suicidal feelings have long-term depression.
See the table below for CDC stats on LGBT students:
|Threatened or Injured LGBT students||12 to 28|
|Experienced dating violence||18 to 28|
|Forced to have sexual intercourse||17 to 32|
|Engage in substance abuse||20 to 30|
|Experience suicidal feelings||38 to 65|
|Attempted suicide at some point||35|
Some reports have shown that suicide is one of the common causes of death in gay and transgender people aged between 10 to 24 years old. GLSEN continues to provide data on LGBT community to help in improving their welfare. Every year, the network releases a report known as National School Climate Survey, which provides reports on the experiences and life of LGBT youth in schools.
What to Do if You Are Gay and Have Depression?
If you’re gay, finding support is important, especially when depression seems inevitable. Keeping your sexual orientation secret is not a wise move. Research has shown that those people who are open about their sexuality have better mental health than those who keep it a secret. However, being in the company of people who express negatively about gays can in some way lead to low-esteem and poor mental state.
You can maintain good mental health by having a supportive family and friends. This helps you to deal with the day-to-day life and live a happy life. In some cases, it can be hard for the gay community to find social support from friends and family. When this happens, there are sports, community, religious, social and other groups that are open to LGBT community. Also, there are counseling groups that can help you to overcome depression.
How to Find a Provider
It’s common for gay and transgender people to fear to find help and support when they feel that they are likely to be discriminated, abused or bullied. These concerns are pretty understandable but don’t make them a reason for not finding help. Try to find someone you can trust, and you’re comfortable with to share your personal experiences. Join an LGBT community as this will also help you identify people they seek help from.
Today, things are fairly easier as there are LGBTQ-specific mental health treatment centers and health providers who are LGBTQ friendly. Speaking to a professional health provider is particularly important when you’re experiencing sexual problems such as ED (erectile dysfunction) or PE (premature ejaculation). In addition to recommending drugs such as Viagra, Cialis and Super P Force, great providers will help you through every challenge you experience
During your visit to a provider, ensure to have questions you want to ask, especially questions about their experience with working with LGBT people. Be confident about disclosing your personal information and be open about thoughts and conditions you’ve had in the past such as depression, anxiety, fear, self-harm, and suicide. Also, ask for referrals where you can get any other help when needed.
Depression in gay, lesbian and bisexual people can be quite suppressing to the point that it affects their lives completely. Finding support and accepting your orientation are some of the best ways to overcome rejection, discrimination, and homophobic treatment. It’s important to remember that you’re not alone and the general climate towards the LGBT community will continue to improve. More importantly, there are a wealth of resources out there to help you.