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Mental health risks for GLBT students

October 2, 2012

A survey of more than 6,000 students from Newcastle University has found that gay and bisexual students are at greater risk of depression, anxiety, binge drinking and eating disorders.

According to the ABC, lead researcher Associate Professor Kyp Kypri  is calling for a greater focus on health promotion, and more awareness that it’s not just youth that are at risk:

“Contrary of what we expected, it wasn’t the youngest students the 17 to 24-year-olds who had the highest prevalence of those disorders and in fact the 25 to 34-year-olds and so a lot of students are bringing more complex lives to their study.”

Homosexuality and bisexuality are not mental illnesses, nor does being gay or bisexual automatically mean you will develop a mental illness.

However, being a minority group in a society where discrimination still exists will understandably create life issues that are unique, and you may not have the right support structures around you – friends, family, etc – to assist you when times get tough.

In choosing a counsellor or psychologist, you need to be able to trust that you can be open about all aspects of your life.  Sexual identity may not be the source of your problems, but having someone who understands what it’s like to walk in your shoes and won’t judge is essential.

When asking for professional help, don’t be afraid to ask if the person you’re seeing has experience in seeing GLBT clients.

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