Almost half of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and gender diverse, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+)1 people hide or don't share their sexuality, gender identity or intersex status because they fear violence or discrimination, with young people aged 16 to 24 more likely to do so than any other age group.2
Gay, bisexual and transgender men are much more likely to experience depression and anxiety than the broader population. They are also at a greater risk of suicide and self-harm. Among LGBTIQ+ populations, research clearly indicates that discrimination, abuse (both verbal and physical), exclusion and prejudice are key contributors to the increased rates of depression, anxiety and self-harm.
Compared to heterosexual men, gay and bisexual men are more likely experience depression and anxiety conditions, and younger men seem to be at a higher risk of depression than older gay men.
Many gay men living with HIV have lost relationships, social support networks, careers, earning capacity and a sense of future. These multiple losses may make them more likely to develop depression and may also compound symptoms. More than 50 per cent of people living with HIV in Australia report having depression or anxiety.3
Studies consistently show that bisexual people have even higher rates of psychological distress than heterosexual people4, and an Australian survey of LGBTIQ+ people found transgender men reported the highest levels of psychological distress.5
We all have the right to be treated fairly and with respect. If you feel that you are not being treated appropriately because of discrimination or prejudice, or a mental health condition, speak up or ask someone you trust to advocate for you.
If you are sexually active, you should be catching up with a doctor or community health nurse every three to six months for a sexual health check anyway, so take an extra few minutes to chat with them if you are feeling lonely, anxious or depressed. They can work with you to take the next steps towards both a healthy body and a healthy mind.
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