Sexual orientation has a lot of influence on the mental health of men. This is true of both gay and bisexual men, who are more prone to mental health issues as compared to their straight counterparts. The level of stigma experienced by bisexual men is different from what is experienced by gay men. However, higher level of education, coupled with high income, can help tackle the situation that affects their daily lives.
A recent study, titled “Mental health inequalities among gay and bisexual men in England, Scotland and Wales: A large community-based cross-sectional survey,” revealed that the risk of developing mental illness aggravates for younger gay and bisexual men.
Education may shield gays, bisexuals from mental problems
For the study, published online in the Journal of Public Health in April 2016, the researchers reviewed 5,799 gay and bisexual men, who were of minimum 16 years of age and had been living in England, Scotland or Wales. Of all the participants, approximately 21 percent were afflicted with depression, 17 percent suffered from anxiety, 7 percent attempted to harm themselves during the previous year and 3 percent attempted to take their own lives.
It was found that the participants aged less than 26 years were at a higher likelihood of suffering from poor mental health. And nearly 29 percent suffered from depressive disorders, 24 percent were found overtly anxious, 14 percent had hurt themselves during the past year and approximately 6 percent attempted to commit suicide.
Though higher levels of education along with increased income group and standard of living may shield gay and bisexual men from falling into the grip of depression, anxiety and problems linked to mental health.
Emphasizing on how previous studies failed to differentiate gay from bisexual, lead author of the study Ford Hickson of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said, “There’s been a tendency to lump gay and bisexual men into a single group. Typically, national and government surveys – even if they are quite large – only have a few gay and bisexual men in them. They’re good at comparing gay and bisexual men to other men, but there are too few to do comparisons within the group.”
Among bisexual men, nearly 26 percent were depressed, 20 percent suffered from anxiety-related disorders, 11 percent had hurt themselves and 4 percent attempted suicide in the previous year. Additionally, bisexual men had a greater risk of poor mental health as compared to gay men. “This finding is congruent with homophobic abuse and assault being very disproportionately experienced by the young,” said the researchers.
Road to recovery
To educate people about health problems among men and boys that can be averted and cured with timely detection and treatment, the National Men’s Health Week is observed in the month of June each year. This year, the week is being observed from June 13 to 19. The theme for this year is “beat stress.”
Emphasizing on the fact that men’s health needs to be understood as a family health issue, Congressman Bill Richardson had said in May 1994, “Recognizing and preventing men’s health problems is not just a man’s issue. Because of its impact on wives, mothers, daughters, and sisters, men’s health is truly a family issue.”
As opposed to previous studies related to poor mental health of the gay people, the latest study revealed the risks associated with mental health of those who are bisexual.
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