SYDNEY — A new study from the Journal of Adolescent Health finds that thoughts of suicide are highest among young bisexual women, Gay News Network, an Australian gay news source, and other outlets report. It also found that bi men and women are overall more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety.
Researchers surveyed 2,513 people ages 14-24. Among their findings:
• White men and women shared similar problems but males did not show significant risks for mental health.
• While lesbians tended to think about suicide more frequently than straight women, they were not at a higher risk for depression, anxiety or distress than straight women.
• Researchers suspect bi or questioning men and women suffer most because they are discriminated against by straight people and members of the LGBT community.
“I think the failure to include bisexual individuals in research studies reflects a larger culture of bisexual invisibility, and with regard to questioning individuals,” Annie Shearer, a research assistant with Drexel’s Family Intervention Science program, was quoted as having said. “I think people assume that is a temporary identity, causing them to be overlooked, too. But during adolescence and young adulthood, when many individuals are still exploring their sexuality, it’s particularly important to include both the bisexual and questioning groups.”
Younger age, lower education and lower income increased risk for poor mental health among gay and bisexual men, according to a new British study study reported by Healio.
“Mental illness is one of the biggest health challenges facing the world today and can affect people from all walks of life. We know minority groups are at higher risk of poor mental health than the heterosexual majority, however the mental health differences within sexual minorities is unclear,” Ford Hickson of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said in a press release. “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.”
To assess differences in mental health indicators among gay and bisexual men, researchers evaluated Internet health survey responses from 5,799 men aged 16 years and older who were sexually attracted to other men. Median age was 32 years.
Overall, 21.3 percent of participants reported depression, 17.1 percent reported anxiety, 6.5 percent reported self-harm within the last year and 3 percent attempted suicide.
All of these mental health outcomes were associated with younger age, lower education and lower income, Healio reports.
Men aged younger than 26 years were two times more likely to have depression or anxiety and seven times more likely to self-harm or attempt suicide than men aged 45 years and older. Men in the lowest income bracket were two to three times more likely to experience depression, anxiety, self-harm or attempted suicide than those in the highest bracket. Men with lower levels of education were approximately two times as likely to experience mental health outcomes than those with higher levels of education, the article said.
Being of a racial or ethnic minority or feeling sexual attraction towards women in addition to men was associated with depression. Cohabitating with a male partner and living in London had protective effects on mental health, researchers found.