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Nancy Schimelpfening

Homosexuality Strongly Linked to Depression and Suicide

By September 23, 2008

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According to a new study, which analyzed 25 earlier studies regarding sexual orientation and mental health, homosexuals and bisexuals are about 50% more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to suffer from depression and abuse drugs.

The researchers also found that the risk of suicide jumped over 200% for those who had engaged in a homosexual lifestyle.

While the study could not answer why homosexuality is linked to depression, lead researcher Michael King speculated that is most likely due to the lifelong stresses caused by the discrimination and rejection that homosexuals and bisexuals suffer from.

King did note that therapists should be cautious about automatically assuming that a patient's depression was directly related to their sexual orientation. "This occurs quite frequently," King said, "much to the irritation of many (lesbian, gay and bisexual) people who seek therapy." Instead, King notes, therapists should focus on the depression itself and simply be aware that homosexual and bisexual patients are at greater risk for mental health disorders.

The study was published in the August 18 issue of BMC Psychiatry.

Comments
November 18, 2010 at 6:53 pm
(1) Robert says:

If social stigma is the cause of this rate of depression in suidice, then why is there virtually no difference in the rate of mental health problems in homosexuals in the Netherlands, Denmark, and New Zealand compared to the U.S.? All those countries are very, very tolerant of homosexuality…the first two countries accept it in marriage.
I think the good doctor has a dog in this race!

November 30, 2010 at 2:00 pm
(2) Michele says:

Also, if it is society that causes the rate of depression and suicide to be so high, then why don’t other groups that are rejected by society have similar rates. Forty years ago, black people weren’t not even allowed to drink out of the same water fountains as white people. That is extreme rejection by society.

February 19, 2011 at 9:27 pm
(3) Bryce says:

I agree with Robert. The “good doctor” has a dog in this race. I’m gay, or suffer from same-sex attraction, and I’m extremely depressed because I fell prey to a homosexual lifestyle. I must say, and I’m sure many will agree, it is such an empty lifestyle. I just don’t know what to do when the holidays and special occasions roll around and I have nobody special in my life (meaning a partner) to share it with. It’s very lonely.

March 13, 2011 at 3:07 am
(4) Daniel says:

Why would a homosexual lifestyle be empty?You can do all the same things as in a heterosexual life.Also just because you dont have a partner,doesnt mean you should be lonely.You still have work collegues,friends,family.Having a partner is overrated!Above all you keep your freedom when you are single.Once you are paired up,that goes out the window.
As for the rates of depression in denmark etc. there could still be strong undercurrents of hatred towards homosexuality.Even though the U.S appears accepting on the surface,there a strong undercurrent of homo hatred.The same could be said for norway,sweden etc.Finally,other minority groups are not bullied at school with the same frequency as homosexuals.In fact there is no other defineable minority group which are bullied with the same frequency of homosexuals.Although authorities preach acceptance,there is a very low degree of acceptance in reality.

March 16, 2011 at 6:55 pm
(5) mandy says:

many homosexuals agree that is it the lifestyle that makes them depressed. Strong currents of hatred??? Seems to me you are trying to cover truth. Most people believe homosexuality is a disorder, and that being the case acceptance is impossible. Tolerance and respect for each other is the goal, and that is a lot different from acceptance.

June 4, 2011 at 7:53 pm
(6) jd says:

I believe that anytime a person ingnores and supresses the deep down voice of their consceince and choses to act immorally and unnaturally (being above animal behavior as humans) they will be host to a mirage of mental and health problems. This has very little to do with society accepting them as normal, as they will never feel truly accepted while maintaining their “lifestyle choice” causes internal moral conflict… which is why they pine for societal acceptance so aggressively. The same is true with other immoral behavior such as violence, rage, murder, and substance abuse, and incest. I think we will continue to see higher and higher percentages of people with this lifestyle having major psychiatric disorders, substance abuse problems, high risk sexual behaviors/diseases (already a major issue), and suicide attempts/ideations, regardless of whether society accepts them as a whole or not.

July 21, 2011 at 3:14 am
(7) Clint says:

Wow…most of these comments show no real cohesiveness with acceptance toward live and let live. We continue to judge based on religious beliefs or personal beliefs. Not understanding is one thing but how hard is it to truly Accept people who are homosexual and choose to have a partner of the same sex? If two Adults of the same sex decide they want to be partners there is No problem with that what so ever. We can continue to degrade and ridicule and say how unhealthy and how mentally ill they are but how mentally stable are those who isolate and ostracize people. It also should not matter if it is a choice or if someone is born that way. If two consenting adults want to have a relationship then people really need to stop trying to criticize their choice. Sadly, I do not know how much me writing about this is going to help bring peace to the world but it is sad to hear such ignorance still this day in age. Why the continual controlling types of behaviors. People say my kids I don’t want them to see that. They say it is perverted. They say it is an abomination. They say anything that can criticize it to such a degree to try and get whatever they are trying to get out of saying these hurtful things. It is likely people like me will have to accept that some people on the Earth will fill their beings up with hatred toward people they do not know, have not interacted with, based on the only fact they know about them and that is being homosexual. There is no God in that hatred as far as I know and in my heart and soul I feel that we need to Live and Let Live as long as no one is hurting another person then leave them alone and let people choose the partners they want to…continued on next comment…Take Care***

July 21, 2011 at 3:16 am
(8) Clint says:

continued…An article about Depression and Homosexuality and most of the comments are by people who expressed homosexuality as some type of illness; even another homosexual feels that way is depressing. Being homosexual may be difficult for some but to totally reject that part of yourself and feel it is sick and wrong is sad because many types of people live on this Earth and if we have beautiful, loving, people who have a partner that is the same sex they are then we need to embrace and love those people just the same as everyone else…Take Care***

April 25, 2012 at 5:13 pm
(9) Chad says:

Even homosexuals know they are not behaving normally. Whether you are religious or not the end result is the same – a dead end. The religious would say it is against God – atheist would say it is against nature (survival of the fittest) It is no wonder they feel depressed. They don’t fit in either camp. It must be difficult to feel attracted to the same sex and yet know it is not normal. It is more important that you ask yourself “why” and find the help to change the way you think. It is a matter of life or death.

June 13, 2012 at 2:03 am
(10) Jason says:

Wow. There is a lot of ignorance here. First off, gays do suffer from prejudice and discrimination even in the best countries. Heterosexuals suffer from none of these things. “Very, very tolerant” of gays as someone said is not the same as having complete acceptance of your identity taken for granted all your life, as is the case with heterosexuals. Also, there are indeed differences in disease and physical and mental health issues among different groups divided by race, ethnicity and gender. Social factors may indeed come into play. Young black men do have a greater rate of suicide than white. Atheists don’t say being gay is against nature by the way. It’s observed in nature. The trait would die off if it wasn’t performing a purpose. It hasn’t. Studies show the presense of male homosexuality at least, in families increases fertility on the maternal line. Being gay isn’t a disease or disorder and so it doesn’t need to change. Even the higher rates don’t indicate an inherent link to being gay and these problems.

September 8, 2012 at 12:43 pm
(11) Steven says:

As an educated young gay professional, I can tell you that most urban professional gay men I have met are Not happy and somewhat depressed. Is it due to homophobia? Perhaps some who live in a conservative small town or rural area or gay teens in high school. But the adult gay men living in gay neigborhoods in major US cities ( such as NYC or SFO or LA) are depressed due to their dysfunctional lifestyles,such as relationships that don’t work, sex addiction or inability to get laid, alcohol, drugs..what not. If you live near gay neighborhood in NYC or SAn Francisco, you are really surrounded by gay or very gay-friendly people, and there is really no room for homophobia. Of course, you can say in was the childhood bad memory of homophobia..come on..people have grown up and people are worried about their current problems on hand and gay people have plenty. For example, the gay male community is very obsessed with sex, youth, and good look. Sayid you are over 40, beginning to lose your hair, getting slightly overweight…then you are really an outcast. And most gay men are not in a monogamous relationship ( even those are are married have opened up their relationships), have no children to look forward to..so what is the meaning of life when you aren’t as hot as you were and have difficulty getting laid. And for many younger gays, they are also struggling with addiction ( sex or substance or both) how can you not be depressed? If you don’t believe me,google Bob Bergeron and read his story.

September 8, 2012 at 11:47 pm
(12) JD says:

As a heterosexual female, I take great offense to the fact that just because I do not accept the homosexual lifestyle as normal behavior that I am labeled a “hater”. I don’t hate anybody. I don’t hate alcoholics or drug addicts, or chronically angry people–and yet I do not accept their behavior as normal either. Most heterosexual people I know are pretty tolerant of the gay and lesbian lifestyle, even though their fight for equality and in many cases, special rights get constantly rammed down our throats. I am not a hater, and I grow weary of the label.

September 29, 2012 at 9:34 am
(13) Billy says:

I am a gay teenager in a community that legally preaches acceptance of gay people, however, the most used insult in my school, or in my neighborhood is ‘that’s so gay’ or some variation thereof. It has reached a point where I recently discovered that one of my younger cousins learnt the word gay means bad before ever knowing what homosexuality is. Homophobia is uniquely different from other forms of racism, I discovered when I was 12 that I was gay and all my life I hear people who are ‘accepting’ essentially say ‘what your are is bad’ without a second thought. It’s taken me years but I’m finally passed my depression, it is not my gayness that has caused my depression, it’s growing up learning from everyone ranging from ‘accepting’ to hostile homophobes that being gay is bad. Knowing that I’m gay, when confronted about it, people literally refuse to stop insulting what I am despite understanding the damage it does.

November 19, 2012 at 4:40 am
(14) SB says:

I am a married woman ( to a man) and i struggle with same sex attraction. The same sex attraction has often been around throughout my life, but suppressed and repressed. I’ve worked very hard to silence that aspect if my life due to religious belief conflict. I do not have children with my husband. In the past year as we have discussed the idea of having a family, I realize that my feelings toward women has not been dealt with appropriately. I can see myself loving a woman and the feeling seems to be innate. So am I at conflict with myself and situation? Yes. Do I struggle with depression? Yes. Have I thought about suicide? Many times. I can’t answer as to why many homosexuals struggle with depression, but this is my story. It’s inner conflict.

February 18, 2013 at 2:21 pm
(15) Ben says:

Gay people suffer from depression because of isolation and the pressure to conform to societal ‘norms’ of heterosexuality. However, most homophobia in society comes from the inability of people to understand that sexuality is not black and white. Heterosexuals cannot understand why gay people get depressed because of their gayness simply because heterosexuals NEVER have to think about their sexuality because society accepts it. When straight people are horrified at seeing gay people kiss etc they are simply saying this is not what I am used to seeing because the media, films, religion etc portray an incorrect view of what it is to be a normal human sexual being.
Sexuality is and has never been and will never be, black and white. Men who are straight think about gay sex, but dont admit it, there is so much hypocrisy in society, and society always looks for a scapegoat.

Gay people are created by straights and have and always will inhabit the earth. I believe gays are here for a purpose, they are here to look after all the children abused and abandoned by their straight parents, and are of the most loveliest of people in the world. This world is complex and nature is full of gayanimals and plants, trees, bisexual plants and trees, lions who have sex with other lions and the list is endless. Straight people need to do some more research into sexuality in all of nature and they will see for themselves that sexuality is very much NOT black and white

April 28, 2013 at 11:41 am
(16) Crysti says:

Just because homosexuality is legal in a country, and there is marriage equality in that country…that doesn’t mean that people aren’t getting discriminated against for their choices. If gay marriage became legal today in the US, we would still have the intolerance, hate, and bigotry towards homosexuals that we did yesterday. Passing a law in a country does not make it acceptable in everyone’s eyes. Blacks were given the right to vote in the US in 1870, but there are still racist people out there who would want to see otherwise. And for 100 years afterwards there were many attempts to limit or discourage them from voting. Also, homosexuality is much different in the sense that the church and Christian families who are supposed to be accepting and loving are rejecting these people and telling them they are sinful and going to burn in hell for their choices. Someone telling me that God doesn’t love me for something I can’t control, and that I’m going to spend eternity in hell if I can’t stop loving someone…I’m sure I would go into depression as well.

April 28, 2013 at 3:33 pm
(17) JD says:

I’m not sure what church you have been exposed to but I was raised in church and have attended all my live. Most churches (Baptist, Methodist, Catholic) teach love and forgiveness. I have NEVER heard from a preacher, Christian or church member that homosexuals are going to hell. All sin is the same in God’s eyes, and everyone sins-and unless you accept Christ as having paid for your sins on the cross, then the result after death is hell. Sin destroys happiness, which is why depression is very prevalent in our society, regardless if you are gay, or a pathological liar. I do not believe gay is normal, and this does not make me a hater.

December 5, 2013 at 8:44 am
(18) DSBM says:

I love how most comments just prove the article’s point without even understanding that. Hello, your views of gay people being “wrong” or “sinful” ARE the freaking problem. What about you discard them completely and start treating gay people as your equals? What about preaching to accept people as they are in your church? But ah, that would ruin the idea of religion itself, since religion IS based on the notion on not accepting people as they are. Lol.

I bet you would see some change then.

March 25, 2014 at 10:36 am
(19) Guy says:

I’m bi-sexual and suffer from mild clinic depression.
Oddly I have noticed that when I’m up and feel positive I select women to try and seduce , whereas when I’m depressed and feeling negative I invariably indulge in homosexual activity.. it’s like a switch.

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