Six Facts About Depression and Being LGBTQ

Major depression is one of the most common mental illnesses in the United States, affecting 25 million Americans each year. But you may not have realized that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people are significantly more likely to experience depression than the general population.


Emily Drabant Conley, Oia

It is common to say “I’m depressed,” when a person is sad about a particular event. Major depression, however, goes beyond a temporary state of sadness. Symptoms may include a persistent depressed mood, loss of interest in everyday activities, low energy, disturbances in appetitive, inability to concentrate, and suicidal ideation.

Although it can be difficult for those struggling with depression to ask for help, the condition is treatable in most people. Psychotherapy and/or antidepressant medications work to help. Here are six facts that give you an outline of the disproportionate impact of depression on LGBTQ folks:

  1. LGBT individuals are 2.5 times more likely than the general population to experience depression.  Get the facts through Kaiser Family Foundation’s Report right here.
  2. High rates of depression may be particularly pronounced among bisexual women, and researchers hypothesize that this relates to the “unique stigma” experienced by bisexual women.Find the full article Read the full article.
  3. Transgendered people also appear to experience very high rates of depression, although this conclusion is based on limited research. One study found that “a staggering 41%” of transgender respondents had attempted suicide. Explore the statistics here.
  1. LBGT folks who are rejected by family members are significantly more likely than those who are accepted to experience depression.
    Learn more information here.
  1. LGBTQ youth experience high levels of bullying. Further, research indicates that childhood bullying can lead to long-term mental health consequences, including depression in adulthood. The full study can be found here.
  2. LGBT youth who are “out” report higher self-esteem and lower rates of depression than those who say they are closeted. More info here.

If you are an uninsured LGBTQ person living in San Francisco, you may be able to access mental health services through AHP. If you think you may be experiencing depression, consult your primary care physician or connect with us. Call us at 415-476-3902, Monday through Friday from 9AM to 11AM and ask to speak with the triage clinician on duty. You can also drop-in for triage—Monday, Wednesday or Friday from 9AM to 11AM—at the AHP Services Center at 1930 Market Street.