Higher Risk of Mental Health Problems for Homosexuals
Homosexual people tend to experience more mental health problems than heterosexual people, research indicates. Discrimination may contribute to the higher risk, believes lead researcher Dr. Apu Chakraborty of University College London, UK.
His team looked at rates of mental disorder among 7,403 adults living in the UK, whose details were obtained from the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey 2007. Rates of depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, phobia, self-harm, suicidal thoughts, and alcohol and drug dependence were significantly higher in homosexual respondents.
Four percent had a depressive episode in the last week, compared to two percent of heterosexual people. The rate of alcohol dependence was ten percent versus five percent, and for self-harming it was nine percent versus five percent.
The proportion of homosexual people who described themselves as being fairly or very happy was 30 percent, versus 40 percent for heterosexual people.
Dr. Chakraborty believes the findings are “very worrying.” He said, “This study is the first time the mental health and well-being of gay, lesbian and bisexual people has been examined in a random sample of the population.
“Our study confirms earlier work carried out in the UK, USA and Holland which suggests that non-heterosexual people are at higher risk of mental disorder, suicidal ideation, substance misuse and self-harm than heterosexual people.”
He stated that, although the level of discrimination was low, it was still significantly higher than against heterosexual people. This “lends support to the idea that people who feel discriminated against experience social stressors, which in turn increases their risk of experiencing mental health problems,” he says.
These higher levels of psychiatric problems in homosexual people call for greater efforts at preventing the issues arising, Dr. Chakraborty adds.