Gay Canadians face higher rates of mental health issues

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The new study provides the first information of its kind for Canada…

A new study conducted by the University of British Columbia has found Gay, lesbian and bisexual Canadians experience more mood and anxiety disorders than other Canadians, and they are more likely to turn to heavy drinking.

The study shed light on the mental health of the often-erased bisexual population. Canadians who identified as bisexual reported the highest rates of mood and anxiety disorders and heavy drinking compared to any other group.

“Often gay, lesbian and bisexual people are grouped together in studies, but we found there are important differences in their reported health,” said Basia Pakula, a PhD candidate in UBC’s School of Population and Public Health who led the study.

Basia Pakula

Basia Pakula

“These findings are extremely useful because this information has not been available for us in Canada until now.”

The findings come from more than 220,000 Canadians who participated in the Canadian Community Health Survey between 2007 and 2012.

The study found that gay and lesbian Canadians reported about twice the rates of anxiety and mood disorders compared to heterosexual Canadians. For bisexual Canadians, the rates were nearly four times those of heterosexuals.

The study did not look into the causes of the mental health but an extensive body of research suggests gay, lesbian and bisexual people experience chronic stress related to prejudice and stigma, said Pakula.

The researchers say the study’s findings can be used to plan and allocate resources for health services that better respond to the issues facing these groups.

This study was published in the American Journal of Public Health

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