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Most LGBT Australians suffer from anxiety

Most LGBT Australians suffer from anxiety

Nearly 80% of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have suffered intense anxiety in the last year. And 44% hide their sexuality in public.

That's according to a study of 4,000 people by La Trobe University Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS) in Victoria, Australia and Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria.

The researchers claim nearly four out of five LGBT Australians experienced at least one episode of intense anxiety in the last year. And over a quarter had been diagnosed with or treated for an anxiety disorder.

The study also found that 44% ‘occasionally’ or ‘usually’ hide their sexuality in public. A third said they hide their sexuality when accessing services. Of the three quarters who had a regular doctor, only 70% said they aware of their sexuality.

The survey’s participants were aged from 16 to 89. It was the youngest of these, in the 16 to 24 age group, that were most likely to hide their sexuality.

According to Liam Leonard of ARCSHS: ‘While the research documents show an increased acceptance of GLBT people and marginal improvements in their general health, it also shows GLBT people continue to experience much higher levels of abuse and discrimination.

'A likely outcome of this is the poorer mental health participants had compared with the population at large.’

The survey is part of Private Lives 2, the second on the health and wellbeing of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Australians. It was launched in full by Victoria minister for mental health Mary Wooldridge on 3 April.