Young gay and bisexual men in the UK are six times more likely to attempt suicide than older men, a new study claims.
The research, funded by Stonewall and conducted by the London School of Tropical Medicine, revealed that gay or bi men under the age of 26 are twice as likely to suffer from depression or anxiety and six times as likely to have attempted suicide or self-harm as men over the age of 45.
90 out of 1,521 men (just under 6 percent) under 26 years old reported a suicide attempt compared to 12 out of 1,244 (1 percent) men over 45 years old. Symptoms of depression affected about 29 percent of those 26 years old or younger compared to less than 15 percent of the older group, reports Medical Daily.
The analysis of 5,799 men aged over 16 living in the UK also found that men with low levels of education were found to be twice as likely to experience a mental health problem as those with a degree education, reports The Independent. This was more pronounced among men from low income backgrounds and ethnic minority groups.
The report’s authors suggest that the cause of the disparity may result from the younger age at which men now come out as gay, compared with previous generations who acknowleged their sexuality older and so were more mature, and thus better able to handle homophobia.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the researchers discovered that men who live with a partner were 50 percent less likely to suffer from depression compared to men living alone.
“Mental health is one of the biggest health challenges facing the world today and can affect people from all walks of life,” lead author Dr Ford Hickson said about the findings. “We know minority groups are at higher risk of poor mental health than the heterosexual majority, however the mental health differences within sexual minorities is unclear.”
“This study contributes to better understanding of the specific risks within LGBT communities and will hopefully lead to more targeted health interventions,” added April Guasp, Head of Research at Stonewall.
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