Mental health is finally beginning to get the attention it deserves. From popular national campaigns like Bell’s “Let’s Talk” to the government of Alberta’s recent Mental Health Review, people are finally beginning to understand the impact that one’s mental health has on the rest of an individual’s life, including one’s physical health. The conversation becomes even more important when we turn our attention to GBQT men, a group which has been shown to experience negative mental health outcomes at significantly higher rates than the general population.
In one systematic review of 199 studies comparing the mental health of sexual minorities to that of the heterosexual population, they found that sexual minorities experienced an elevated risk for depression (89% of studies), suicide (98% of studies), anxiety disorder (83% of studies), and substance abuse (93% of studies).1 Another review of 25 studies from 1966-2005 aimed to quantify the elevated risk, finding that sexual minorities were two times more likely to attempt suicide, 1.5 times more likely to experience depression and anxiety, and a 1.5 times more likely to struggle with alcohol and substance dependence.2
One of the main reasons why GBQT men experience such higher rates of mental health challenges is minority stress. In addition to regular stressors, minorities also face socially stressful environments created by prejudice, discrimination, and stigma.3 For example, pretty much anyone can relate to financial stress or the stress felt after the end of a serious relationship but minorities face additional stress brought on by situations like fearing homophobic violence, being rejected by friends or family members, and not being allowed to use the restroom that matches their gender identity.
To learn more about stigma and discrimination and its impact on the health of our community, check out our social health section
Throughout the remainder of this section, we will look at some mood disorders commonly experienced by GBQT men in addition to topics Edmonton guys have told us are significant to them such as body image and gender identity. We also have an extensive harm reduction section that explores safer ways to use sex and party drugs. In the future we also hope to delve into the world of LGBTQ spirituality and look closer at alternative forms of healing. So keep an eye out for those pieces on our blog!