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Gay and bi men’s health is about much more than sex, HIV, and STDs. Mental health is a key part of our health, though we don’t pay nearly as much attention to it as we should. Mental health can also affect our sexual health, and is sometimes related to excessive alcohol and drug use.

Here’s some basic advice and some resources about mental health, drugs and alcohol, and sexual addiction.

First, if you have any mental health concerns, you’re not alone. Gay and bi men are at greater risk for mental health problems than others. Research shows that compared to other men, gay and bisexual men are more likely to experience depression and anxiety.

Even though there’s been terrific progress in achieving equality, there’s still a long way to go. Ongoing homophobia, stigma and discrimination can all have negative effects on our health.

Having people around you who care about you, both emotionally and practically, is key to your mental health. If you are unable to get support from your friends and families, you can try finding it by becoming involved in community, social, athletic, religious, and other groups. And certainly, a lot of people have made friends with people they’ve met on apps.

Mental health counseling and support groups that are sensitive to the needs of gay and bisexual men can be especially useful if you are coming to terms with your sexual orientation or are experiencing depression, anxiety, or other mental health problems.

  • While many gay and bi men may not seek care from a mental health provider because of a fear of discrimination or homophobia, it is important to keep this as an option and to find a provider that is trustworthy and compatible. Ask your friends, and local LGBTQ community centers, for the names of providers who are LGBTQ-friendly healthcare providers.
  • You can also search the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association’s Provider Directoryfor a list of providers in your area. It may take interviewing several of them to find one that’s right for you. Call ahead and ask if a provider you are considering has any LGBTQ patients.
  • If you are uncomfortable about coming out and being open with your provider, bring a trusted friend or family member with you to your appointment.