The magazine’s editor Matthew Todd is quick to dispel the cliché that all gay men are having a ‘fabulous’ time, partying every night and living flamboyant and happy lifestyles. Actually there are far higher rates of depression, anxiety and suicide, substance abuse and sex addiction among the homosexual community than there is among the straight.
Recent research conducted at London’s University College hospital has found there are significantly higher rates of mental illness among gay men than in straight men, which correlates with evidence showing that gay men are more than twice as likely to attempt suicide.
Todd believes this is a hugely sensitive issue among gay men, after such a long and hard fight to be seen as equals many want to give the impression they are happy with who they are but are actually suffering from feelings of isolation and shame.
Though homosexuality is something that is far more widely accepted in today’s society than it previously was, for some gay men the damage has already been inflicted. It was only in 1993 that ”Homosexuality” was removed from the list of psychiatric disorders, meaning that older gay men would have experienced the stigma of homosexuality at its strongest making it difficult for them to seek help and solace at the time from either friends and family or from mental health providers.
Dominic Davies is the director and founder of the UK’s largest independent counselling organisation (Pink Therapy) which works gender and sexual minority clients: “If you don’t feel you can trust your doctor, you are not going to disclose to them. We have had quite robust research that shows significantly poorer mental health among gay men and lesbians than in the general population and significantly higher rates of drinking, smoking and drug-taking. The result of living as a stigmatised minority is that you self-medicate.” He said.
Tim Franks from the gay and lesbian mental health charity Pace has stressed that mental health care providers in Britain are not taking the issue seriously enough. He went on to describe how one in four of the young people visiting Pace workshops has already attempted suicide.
Much more needs to be done to help tackle these issues and Todd hopes that ‘the issues issue’ of Attitude will be just one of many steps in the right direction: “If there is a gay community, we need to look after people who are having a bad time. For the first time, we have concrete answers. If you have these issues, there’s a way to deal with them.” He said.
If you are struggling to come to terms with your sexual orientation or are concerned about reactions of loved ones or any other aspects and would like to discuss this with a counsellor in confidence then please visit the homepage of this site where you can use the search tool to locate a qualified professional in your local area.
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