Gay and bi men and women more likely to have mental health problems

A new survey has found that 11 per cent of gay men and 15 per cent of bisexual men have experienced mental health isssues, compared to five per cent of straight men.

In addition, 12 per cent of lesbians and 19 per cent of bisexual women have reported problems, compared to only six per cent of heterosexual women.

The report which was carried out by the Cambridge Centre for Health Services and published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine also found that 22 per cent of gay men and 26 per cent of bisexual men considered their general health to be poor compared to 20 per cent of heterosecual men.

Twenty-five per cent of lesbians and 31 per cent of bisexual women felt their health to be poor compared to 21 per cent of straight women.

The report concluded that the poor health of sexual minorities “may in part be due to potentially hostile and stressful social environment created by the stigma, prejudice and dicrimination that they face.”

The study also found that gay and bi men and women were 50 per cent more likely than heterosexuals to report negative experiences with their GP.

"We need to ensure both that doctors recognise the needs of sexual minorities, and also that sexual minorities have the same experience of care as other patients," said Professor Martin Roland, director of the Cambridge Centre for Health Service Research.

"This research demonstrates how lesbian, gay and bisexual people continue to experience poorer mental health and poorer experiences when accessing primary care than their heterosexual counterparts," said James Taylor, head of policy at gay rights charity Stonewall.

"It is vital that lesbian, gay and bisexual people are able to access high-quality healthcare free from discrimination and action is taken to improve their health."