September is a month of many health observances: Whole Grains Month, World Alzheimer’s Month, and National Preparedness Month, to name a few. But there is one observance that is of particular and critical importance to the bisexual+ community.
Research conducted over the past decade on the bi+ community’s mental health disparities has been undeniable. Bisexual men and women have overall higher rates of depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders compared to their gay and straight counterparts. Suicidality and suicide attempts among bisexuals are also at higher rates. One study of more than 13,000 middle and high school students found that 44% of bisexual youth reported thinking about suicide in the past 30 days, compared to 7% of straight youth and 23% of LGBTQ youth in general. Another study found that among bisexual youth who reported suicidal thoughts, these thoughts did not decrease as they reached adulthood, yet these suicidal thoughts did decrease among their gay and straight peers.
Experiences of biphobia and bi+ erasure both within and outside the LGBTQ+ community contribute to mental health disparities and suicidality in the bi+ community. There are also intersectional experiences of transphobia, racism, ableism, and ageism that compound these disparities. Bisexual+ individuals navigate through various levels of prejudice and stigma on a daily basis; these stressors can often in turn lead to mental distress, isolation, and desperation. And when bi+ folks do reach out for support and resources, they sometimes experience discrimination from the very organizations and providers that are supposed to be a lifeline for them.
Therefore, it’s important to strengthen bisexual-specific mental health services and resources. These spaces should also be inclusive of a bisexual+ person’s intersecting identities as well as easily accessible or affordable. Fortunately, there are several organizations and resources already available to help bi+ community members in need:
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255
- The Trevor Project Suicide Hotline at 1-866-488-7386
- Trans Lifeline Hotline at 877-565-8860 (US) or 877-330-6366 (Canada)
- GLBT National Youth Talkline at 1-800-246-7743
- Bisexual Women of Color: How to Give Emotional Support to Bi Women of Color Guide
- Bisexual Resource Center: Mental Health, Biphobia, Bi Erasure, and Getting Help
- Estraven Le Guin: How to Find a Bi Competent Therapist
- Directory of Bisexuality-Aware Professionals
There’s help. There’s hope. So reach out today.