Depression in gay and bisexual black men

black man

Black, gay and bisexual men who face harassment, discrimination and negative feelings about their homosexuality often experience mental health disorders, depression and anxiety according to a new study.

“Racism, homo-negativity and the experience of violence and discrimination contribute significantly to mental disorder burden and morbidity in this community,” said Louis F. Graham, lead study author and a Kellogg Health Scholars postdoctoral fellow in the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Using online surveys, the research team asked African-American gay or bisexual men about any depression or anxiety they may feel. They also asked about harassment and discrimination in the community and in the workplace.

Over 30% of the men reported depression and 33% reported anxiety, which is higher than rates for the general population. Discrimination and harassment were common with 95% of people responding claiming to experience it at least once in the last year. Eleven percent said they experienced it weekly. Researchers found that men who felt shame about their same sex orientation were more likely to feel depressed or anxious.

“If we think about a whole pie that represents factors that may cause depression and anxiety among this population, findings suggest that discrimination an internalized homo-negativity make up over 50% of the pie,” Graham said.

The authors note that mental health disorders are often thought of as an individual problem. With this study it is easy to see how an entire group may experience depression and anxiety for the same reasons.

Source: Depression Research and Treatment, MedicalNewsToday


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