Research published by the Journal of Public Health has found that young gay and bisexual men are at a higher risk of poor mental health than their older counterparts.
This study was conducted by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and was funded by LGBT charity Stonewall. The findings showed that gay and bisexual men who are 26 or younger are six times more likely to attempt suicide in comparison to the same group, aged over 45.
Also, the study found that they are twice as likely to be depressed or anxious.
The study, which had a sample size of 5,799 men, also found that black gay or bisexual men were twice as likely to be depressed and five times more likely to attempt suicide versus their white counterparts.
Lead author Dr Ford Hickson, who is from the London school of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said: “Mental illness is one of the biggest health challenges facing the world today and can affect people from all walks of life. We know the minority groups are at higher risk of poor mental health than the heterosexual majority, however the mental health differences within sexual minorities is unclear.”
“Our study showed that among gay and bisexual men, age and ethnicity had a significant impact on mental health, as did income and education. This is possibly because men are better able to cope with homophobia the older they are, or if they are relatively privileged in other areas of their lives.”
They also found that gay or bisexual men on a lower income were more likely to be depressed, attempt suicide, self-harm or experience anxiety. There was also evidence that people in the group with a lower education were twice as likely to have mental health issues versus those with a degree.
“Minority groups are usually thought to be more homogenous than they actually are, when in fact there is great variation in health and life situations among this group. What’s clear is that health inequalities among gay and bisexual men mirror those in the broader society. Poor mental health is not evenly distributed across race, income or education. We must ensure that access to life-changing support services are targeted to where they are needed most. Everyone has the right to good mental health.”
Head of Research at Stonewall, April Guasp, spoke on the findings: “We’re really pleased to see this further in-depth analysis of mental health issues faced by gay and bisexual men.
“It’s known that a range of factors can increase risk of poor mental health among the population in general and the same holds true for gay and bisexual men. This study contributes to better understanding of the specific risks within LGBT communities and will hopefully lead to more targeted health interventions.”
On a slightly more positive note, the research also found that living with a partner also has a great effect. They found that men living with a partner are 50% less likely to suffer from depression.