Does being homosexual or transgender increase your chances of suffering from DEPRESSION???
Dr. O decided to conduct a personal interview to find out, here is the story of *Seann.
1. How old were u when you first realized you were gay? I was 13 and in the 7th grade when I first realized I was gay. Puberty started and the hormones kicked in, I quickly knew I was more attracted to the guys and not the girls.
2. How did you feel? It wasn’t until high school that things changed, 9th grade was a rough year for me. I constantly remember hearing guys at school call each other “faggot”, “fag”, “homo”, and “queer” as a way to insult each other. No one suspected that I was gay, but hearing these comments deeply hurt me and made me feel isolated. My family is old school Italian Catholic, so coming out to them was out of the question as well. I often felt alone and sad, but tried to make the best of a bad situation.
2. What did you do about it? Or try to? I prayed- a lot! I prayed to God to help me, to change me, to make me like girls, to make me normal- whatever normal is?! I would pray every night, but every morning I was still the same; nothing had changed. So I gave up on the praying and decided to keep myself occupied by being an over achiever. I tried to keep myself so busy that I wouldn’t have time to think about being gay. I knew it was only a temporary solution to a long-term problem, but for the time being it was all I could do.
3. Have u thought about coming out? What stopped you?
I’m now 27 years old and a graduate student. A lot has happened in my life, but one thing that remains the same is that I’m still in the closet with my family. I’ve come out to my close friends and it’s been completely great. They’ve accepted me and it was never an issue. But with my family it’s different. They are old school Italian Catholic and coming out to them will most likely cause me to be disowned. All the good in my life will be erased by this one thing. I constantly hear homophobic remarks by almost everyone in my family, from my grandparents to my younger sister. I’ve come to accept that when I do eventually come out, I’ll lose most, if not all of my family.
- Depression affects 19 million Americans, or 9.5% of the population annually. During the average human’s lifespan, 10%-25% of women and 5%-12% of men will likely become clinically depressed.
- In a study of depression and gay youth, researchers found depression strikes gay youth 4-5 times more severely than their non-gay peers. (Hammelman, T.L. (1993).
- A study in the UK found that mental health appears worse amongst LGBT ( lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) people than the general population, with depression being 2-3 times higher than the general population.
- Research points to issues encountered from an early age, such as being targeted for bullying, assault, and discrimination can contribute significantly to depression, suicide, and other mental health issues in adulthood.
What are the reasons behind this?
-LGBTQ individuals are more likely to be unaccepted for their sexuality and therefore alienated by family, peers, and society. They have a higher likelihood to turn to substance abuse for comfort and escape.
What are the issues surrounding the transgender community vs. the homosexual community?
– While the issues surrounding transgender individuals are similar to that of the gay and lesbian communities, they can also include difficulty in seeking medical care due to transphobia or a lack of knowledge or experience with transgender health. Also in situations of sex reassignment therapy, it may not be covered by medical insurance. There is also a difficulty in finding jobs and acceptance in the workplace in both communities.
What are some resources to turn to for help?
– “The problem may be more severe for those men who remain in the closet or who do not have adequate social supports.” A positive support system can help to improve their mood by helping them to feel less isolated.
– There are local and national organizations that can also help to provide mentors, education, and emotional guidance as well.
– There are counselors/ psychiatrists/psychologists that can provide psychotherapy to help address the social and psychological stressors.
Listen to Dr. O discuss DEPRESSION on his radio show Wednesday evening at 9pm!
Have you ever had to help a LGBTQ friend or family member deal with depression? Do you agree that the LGBTQ community is more likely to be depressed? Why or why not?