Adding More to Life's Stress?

BY Bob Adams

October 29 2009 12:00 AM ET

Lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults, including those who are HIV-positive, are more than twice as likely as their heterosexual peers to seek help for mental health issues, according to a study by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles's School of Public Health.

The survey of nearly 2,100 adults, reported in the journal BMC Psychiatry, has shown that about 48.5% of respondents reported receiving mental health treatment within the previous year, compared to 22.5% of heterosexuals.

The researchers believe that discrimination, violence, and other stressful life events may be greater among sexual minorities'and worse still among those who are also members of racial minorities'leading them to experience more obvious symptoms of anxiety or depression requiring treatment.

Although the UCLA researchers didn't specifically address the role of HIV stigma in the need for mental health care, previous research has shown that many HIVers report experiencing discrimination and prejudice due to their infections.

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