While studies have consistently found that bisexual people experience lower quality mental health, the reasons behind this have been largely unknown, until now.
Questioning more than 2,600 bisexual people across Australia, researchers led by Julia Taylor from La Trobe University found several factors which affected the mental health of bisexual people.
In particular, they uncovered that bisexual people who are in heterosexual relationships, bisexual people who perceive their sexuality to be bad or wrong, and bisexual people who think their partner’s support or understanding of their bisexuality is low, are all at particularly high risk of poor mental health.
The study, conducted by La Trobe University, has already instigated Bi+ Australia, the first national organisation set up to improve the mental health of bisexual Australians through support, education and research.
More support is needed
Taylor, from La Trobe’s Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS), says the study is proof that more support is needed to improve the mental health of bisexual people.
“Attraction to more than one gender is very common among Australian adults and most health practitioners are unaware of the very poor mental health associated with this group.
“The findings have given a unique insight into what challenging life experiences bisexual people are going through and how this is impacting their mental health,” she adds.
“This study from La Trobe, along with the organisation Bi+ Australia, is making a real impact in enhancing the understanding, acceptance, inclusion and celebration of bisexuality in Australia, and hopefully the world.”
Concerning statistics for bisexual people’s mental health
The study found significant statistics demonstrating the poor mental health of cisgender (where their gender is congruent with biological sex) bisexual people.
The statistics amongst bisexual people show: one in four have attempted suicide, nearly 80 per cent had considered self-harm or thought about committing suicide, and finally, over 60 per cent currently have high or very high current psychological distress, with 40 per cent reporting having depression in the past.
You can read the preliminary findings from the Who I Am study findings here.
This article was first published on Australia’s Science Channel, the original news platform of The Royal Institution of Australia.
Amelia Nichele is a science journalist at The Royal Institution of Australia.
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