An Australian study has found gay women are more likely to drink excessively as a result of depression.
The University of Melbourne studied the correlation between excessive drinking, recreational drug use and the mental health among lesbians 18 years and over.
Professor Ruth McNair found lesbian, bisexual and transgender women are two to three times more likely to experience depression and anxiety, Australian News reports.
‘On average the gap between realizing your sexuality and coming out to friends and family is between five and seven years,’ McNair said. ‘How members of this community are treated by their families during this time has a big impact on their wellbeing through life.’
Describing the period as ‘high risk’, she said if it is not properly managed and supported, it can lead to mental health problems and binging on alcohol.
She said: ‘This is a very vulnerable time and can create huge problems, with many in this community feeling lost as a result of their treatment.’
McNair said if women have children, then they are less susceptible to depression and ‘builds a woman’s resilience’.
It found 3% of gay men and 5% of bisexual men have attempted suicide in 2011 – by comparison to just 0.4% of men in general.
A Department of Health spokesperson told Gay Star News: ‘All patients, irrespective of their sexual orientation, should expect the best care. Anything less is unacceptable.’