On the final day of this week, Bisexual Health Awareness Month focuses on mental health disparities among bisexual+ youth and ways to better support them through action and resources.
Bisexual+ (e.g. bisexual, pansexual, fluid, no label, queer) youth have various mental health needs, including for social support and help services, that are often unmet. They also experience biphobia, transphobia, racism, and other forms of oppression and discrimination that impact their mental health. Several research studies have found that:
- Bisexual college students report higher levels of mental health issues and their impact on academics than their lesbian, gay, and straight counterparts
- One study found that it may not “get better” for bisexual youth when it relates to suicidality
- Latino and Native American/Pacific Islander LGBT youth have greater odds of attempting suicide compared to their white peers, with Latina LGBT girls having a higher prevalence of suicide attempts in the past year compared to other racial categories, and Latino LGBT boys reporting twice the amount of feeling sad in the past year than boys of other racial categories
- In one study, 37.1% bisexual male youth used tobacco over the past month compared to 33.3% gay and 22.2% straight male youth, and 43.6% bisexual female youth used tobacco over the past month compared to 28.0% lesbian and 16.7% straight female youth
- 48% of gender-expansive youth agreed “strongly” or “somewhat” that they experimented with alcohol and drugs, a rate double that of their straight cisgender counterparts
- 56% of bisexual youth agreed “strongly” or “somewhat” that they have experimented with alcohol and drugs, higher than their gay, lesbian and straight peers
Inclusive mental health and substance use treatment programs that serve all intersections of bisexual+ youth can greatly improve their health. Programs and policies that address racism, transphobia, biphobia, and other forms of discrimination in both schools and communities can also decrease mental health disparities for bisexual+ youth.
Today’s Featured Resources:
- GLBT National Youth Talkline — 1-800-246-7743
- Trans Lifeline Hotline — 877-565-8860 (US) or 877-330-6366 (Canada)
- The Trevor Project Suicide Hotline — 1-866-488-7386
- National LGBT Tobacco Control Network
- SAMHSA Treatment Services Locator
There is help, and there is hope! Reach out today.
Casey, age 19: There’s nothing wrong with you. Your sexuality is fluid. However long or short a time it takes to get there, embrace the path to finding just who you are and the perfect way to identify and express yourself as such. Be safe, be true to yourself, live and love with all your heart.