Depression is a common mental health challenge for many people, but particularly so amongst the GBQT community. The risk of depression can increase even further for GBQT guys who also belong to other minority groups such as racial minorities or people living with HIV.
In the Edmonton Sex Now survey, about one in four guys said they had discussed depression with a healthcare provider in the last 12 months. This is important. Research has shown that although people might recognize symptoms of depression, they may not admit it out of resistance to being labelled “depressed.” The importance of connecting with a healthcare provider is reaffirmed by a study that showed that GBQT men who were connected to a primary healthcare provider and saw them more frequently were more likely to have depressive symptoms recognized, leading to a diagnosis.1
To determine whether or not you might be dealing with depression, it’s important to understand what some of the symptoms are. The CDC says that people who are depressed might have feelings of sadness or anxiety for weeks at a time in addition to the following symptoms:2
- Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
- Irritability, restlessness
- Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable
- Fatigue and decreased energy
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
- Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
- Overeating, or appetite loss
- Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
- Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not get better, even with treatment
One of the challenges many GBQT men face in seeking support for depression is their embarrassment about not being able to cope.1 However, as discussed previously, depression is a very common mood disorder, particularly within our community. There is nothing to be ashamed of. So, if you think you might be struggling with depression, speak with your primary healthcare provider or get connected with an LGBTQ competent mental healthcare professional. If you’re having difficulty connecting with an LGBTQ competent mental healthcare professional, let us know and we might be able to help you find one.
Besides seeking medical care, a sense of belonging within the LGBTQ community has been associated with lower levels of depression.3 If you don’t feel like you have a lot of connections or your support network isn’t big enough, you’re not alone. As per the Sex Now survey, less than half of Edmonton guys have a support network of more than four people and that number lowers to 28% for those aged thirty and above. If you want to meet other guys and expand your community, check out some of the social opportunities in our Social Health “Access” Section.
And if you’re ever in an emergency or feel you need immediate support contact the distress line at 780-482-HELP (4357).