Gay and lesbian Canadians report mood or anxiety disorders two times more than their straight counterparts, according to a new UBC study, and they’re more likely to turn to heavy drinking as a result.
Bisexual Canadians were most likely to report mood and anxiety disorders as well as heavy drinking – their rates were four times that of heterosexual people.
UBC PhD candidate and study lead Basia Pakula says this shows important differentiations among LGB people that need to be considered in studies of this kind.
“Often gay, lesbian and bisexual people are grouped together in studies, but we found there are important differences in their reported health.”
“These findings are extremely useful because this information has not been available for us in Canada until now,” she says.
Data was collected from more than 220,000 Canadians who participated in the Canadian Community Health Survey between 2007 and 2012. Pakula says growing evidence suggests micro-aggressions and daily slurs or prejudiced comments can be psychologically damaging.
“Bisexual people often face a double stigma from within heterosexual and gay or lesbian communities, and lack needed supports.”
Substances like alcohol are often used by LGB people to cope with the stress of dealing with mental health issues, Pakula says, and health interventions need to cater to the unique needs of this group.
The study was published in the American Journal of Public Health.