Homosexuals Are More Likely to Seek Counseling

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A research just released this week confirms that homosexuals are more likely to seek counseling than heterosexuals. In fact, the study confirms that twice as many gays, lesbians and bisexuals seek out counseling.

The study, published in the journal BMC Psychiatry, observed the relationship of gender and sexual orientation to the amount of services used to treat psychiatric problems such as mental health as well as addictions such as drugs and alcohol. The results confirmed that homosexuals are more likely to seek counseling.

Researchers gathered data on 2,074 people and found that 48.5 percent of lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals reported receiving treatment in the past year, compared with 22.5 percent of heterosexuals. Overall, lesbians and bisexual women were most likely to receive treatment. "It is well known that health services utilization is greater among women generally," said Susan Cochran, professor of epidemiology at the UCLA School of Public Health. "Here we have shown that minority sexual orientation is also an important consideration. Lesbians and bisexual women appear to be approximately twice as likely as heterosexual women to report having received recent treatment for mental health or substance use disorders."

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The researchers discovered several reasons that may explain these findings. The main factor was discrimination. Many homosexuals live their lives being discriminated upon and fear violence such as hate crimes. It was suggested that other stressful life events may be greater among homosexuals making this minority group seek counseling.

The study further discovered that ethnic and racial minorities in general were less likely to seek mental health or substance services. African Americans and Hispanics in fact, underutilize services for mental health because of lack of familiarity with the types of services available, prior negative experiences, or because of the stigma that occurs when they utilize these types of services.

The study indicates the need to examine how the treatment of individuals who do not have diagnosable disorders may reduce the likelihood that they will develop a severity of distress and disorders. A better understanding of what leads sexual minorities to seek treatment may create a knowledge that can be used to improve the treatment to those who use mental health resources.

The findings confirm that homosexuals are more likely to seek counseling and offered suggestions for the allocation of public funding for the use of mental health and substance abuse treatment services.

References
Time
HIV Plus Magazine

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