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Live with your boyfriend? You're half as likely to suffer from depression, study finds

2016-04-27
Gay and bisexual men living with a male partner are half as likely to suffer from depression as those living alone, a new study has found. The findings comes as part of a new study by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine into mental health differences among gay and bisexual men, who are already known to suffer disproportionally higher rates of mental health problems compared to heterosexuals. Funded by Stonewall, the studyanalysed the responses of 5,799 gay and bisexual men aged 16 and over, measuring rates of depression, anxiety, attempted suicide and self-harm against a range of life factors. Researchers also found that black gay and bisexual men are twice as likely to be depressed and five times more likely to have attempted suicide than their white counterparts.

Gay and bi men under the age of 26 are also six times more likely to attempt suicide or self harm compared to men over 45, while living in London was also found to improve your mental health.

Men who earn less and have lower levels of education were also found to be more likely to suffer from poor mental health.

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"Our study showed that among gay and bisexual men, age and ethnicity had a significant impact on mental health, as did income and education", said the study's lead author, Dr Ford Hickson.

"Minority groups are usually thought to be more homogenous than they actually are, when in fact there is great variation in health and life situations among this group.

"What's clear is that health inequalities among gay and bisexual men mirror those in the broader society. Poor mental health is not evenly distributed across race, income or education."

He added: "We must ensure that access to life-changing support services are targeted to where they are needed most. Everyone has the right to good mental health."

Stonewall's head of research, April Gasp, says the findings, which have been published in the Journal of Public Health, highlight the need for LGBT support services to be targeted towards those who need them most.

"It's known that a range of factors can increase risk of poor mental health among the population in general and the same holds true for gay and bisexual men," she said.

"This study contributes to better understanding of the specific risks within LGBT communities and will hopefully lead to more targeted health interventions."

If you're concerned about your own mental health or that of someone else, call the Samaritans free and confidentially on 116 123 or visit samaritans.org for more information.

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