March 6, 2013 | by WBadmin
Closeted soldiers have more mental health problems
marines, gay news, Washington Blade

(Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

MISSOULA, Mont. — A new study from the University of Montana found that gay soldiers who stay in the closet while serving are much more vulnerable to mental health challenges including depression, anxiety disorders, drug use, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and suicide, Think Progress, a Center for American Progress Action Fund blog, reported last week.

Among the findings:

  • Suicide rates of 14.7 percent for LGB soldiers compared to .00003 percent for the entire veteran/soldier community.
  • LGB service members are twice as likely to develop alcohol problems.
  • Are five times as likely to show signs of PTSD
  • 68.7 percent of those surveyed were “constantly” trying to hide their sexual orientation, Think Progress reported.

Researchers said that even with the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” harassment and victimization of LGB soldiers will likely continue while past studies have shown employees in any workforce succeed more and have increased productivity with themselves and colleagues when out, Think Progress reported.

1 Comment
  • As one of the researchers cited for this study, I would like to note that the 14.7% rate quoted regarding suicide is for suicide *attempts* among LGB veterans, not for completed suicides. I believe that the comparison rate for the general veteran community provided in the article (.0003%) is for completed suicides. Obviously, in any population studied, suicide attempts are much more common than actual completed suicides. so these rates cannot be compared directly.

    I would also like to acknowledge co-authors on the research study: Kimberly Balsam at Palo Alto University, Tracy Simpson and Carol Malte at the VA Puget Sound–Seattle Division, and Annesa Flentje, currently at UCSF.

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