The Reality of Mental Health Among Bisexual People
We are all susceptible to developing mental health issues, but people discriminated against are even more likely. Mental health concerns are rife amongst the bisexual population, typically due to the oppression and discrimination they face. All of these factors and experiences can contribute to the development of mental health issues like depression.
Bisexual people make up the largest population within LGBTQ+ communities. Bisexuality is a type of sexual orientation where people experience a sexual attraction, romantic attraction, or both to more than one gender. The stigma and lack of understanding around this sexual orientation can often lead to the oppressive treatment that causes mental health issues.
Whether you want to learn more about the reality of mental health among bisexual people or have concerns about a close friend or family member, please keep reading. Here you will learn more about mental health issues prevalent in bisexual people and how they can be supported through professional, therapist support.
Mental Health Statistics for Bisexual People
Despite bisexual people making up the largest single population within the LGBTQ+ community, there is a lack of significant research surrounding their mental health. However, some research has suggested that bisexual people are at a greater risk of developing mental health illnesses than lesbian women and gay men.
Furthermore, a 2020 study looking at mental health in Australian bisexual people found that 72% of the participants reported high levels of psychological distress. Other research also indicated that bisexual people experience higher or equivalent rates of depression and anxiety relative to gay or lesbian people. In particular, bisexual men and women were more likely to develop mood and anxiety disorders than gay, lesbian and heterosexual people.
Other research also indicates a higher risk of suicide and non-suicidal self-harm in bisexual people than gay, lesbian, and heterosexual people.
Research suggests that bisexual people are more likely to experience depression than gay, lesbian or heterosexual people. One 2015 study indicates that bisexual women are 26% more likely to feel depressed than lesbian women. Also, bisexual and gay men have a higher risk of developing major depression.
A further review in 2018 looking at various studies found that depression scores were higher in bisexual individuals than in gay, lesbian and heterosexual people. The review suggested that discrimination against sexual orientation, bisexual invisibility and erasure, and a lack of bisexual-affirmative support are three causes of depression in bisexual people.
A 2018 systematic review found an elevated rate of anxiety among bisexual individuals. A further study in 2020 emphasised this, finding higher levels of anxiety symptoms among bisexual people. It was also found that gay and bisexual men have a higher risk of having a generalised anxiety disorder, while woman are 20% more likely to experience anxiety than lesbian women.
A 2015 study suggests that bisexual women are more likely to be stressed from social settings due to discrimination. This indicates that bisexual women may experience more mental health concerns than lesbian women. Causes for the stress have been noted as stigma, internalised monosexism, and discrimination and violence against them.
More recently, a 2020 study also found that bisexual people may be more likely to experience sexual identity stress at multiple levels. This includes stress from hiding their sexual orientation, stress from having a weaker sense of connection to the LGBTQ+ community, and stress from identity uncertainty.
The Benefits of Therapy
With mental health concerns like depression, anxiety, and stress prevalent amongst bisexual people, we should encourage them to seek professional support and guidance. Therapy has started to lose the stigma long attached to it, and people finally see the benefits it brings and how it can alter our lives for good.
Therapy can allow you to understand the complexities of our minds more and understand how and why we are affected by the society around us. While we alone may not be able to change perspectives and opinions, we can change the way we respond to discrimination and prejudice. Therapy will help you build up a defence for your mental health and learn ways to cope with the world around us.
For more information about how I could support you and your ongoing mental health journey, please look at my website. With prejudice, discrimination, and violence against the LGBTQ+ community seeming to rise in the past few weeks, many people who are a part of this community may be struggling with their mental health. If you are one of them or know someone close to you who is struggling, please get in contact with me. I am here to support your mental health and ensure you feel happy and healthy.