Research from the University of British Columbia has discovered an increasing trend of suicide rates among gay and bisexual men who make less than $30,000 a year and who do not have college degrees.
According to their report, men who have sex with men have five times the greater odds of attempting suicide than do their more accomplished contemporaries.
"Less-educated men might feel a greater sense of hopelessness because they see few options to improve their lot, compared to their peers, who could address their poverty by using their education," said Olivier Ferlatte, a postdoctoral research fellow at UBC and lead author of the study.
Additionally, researchers gathered that bisexual men in relationships with women reported feeling emotionally stable more often than did their counterparts in relationships with men. Ferlatte wonders whether mainstream social mores are of any pivotal consequence in the suicides by such numbers in bisexual men:
“For a bisexual man, having a female partner is probably protective in that it shields them from the stress of being a member of a ‘visible minority’ and from potential discrimination,” he said.
From a health survey of 8,382 men who have sex with men, Ferlatte and his peers analyzed data focusing on 145 men who admitted to having attempted suicide within the last year.
"The number of gay and bisexual men who die by suicide is comparable to those who die from HIV/AIDS, yet we know little about the factors contributing to this health crisis — and particularly about how social factors and suicidal behaviors intersect," said Ferlatte.
"Our study is the first in Canada to analyze how socioeconomic factors like income and education are associated with suicide risks for these men."
Study co-author John Oliffe suggests that mental health organizations establish multi-disciplined suicide prevention programs designed to address certain mental health struggles in more nuanced, demographically-centered ways.
"As gay and bisexual men are not affected by suicide equally, interventions should acknowledge the diversity of experiences in this community. We have to make sure that messages are relevant and available to men with lower income and education levels. Information about suicide, mental health and available resources must be specific to their needs and easy to understand," he said.