Opening about one’s sexual orientation is associated with many risks, despite greater acceptance and awareness among people. Bisexual individuals struggle with a lot of mental distress, because there is lack of enough resources and support compared to what is available for gay, lesbian and transgender individuals say reports. Unfortunately, lesbian, gay or straight communities do not treat bisexuals kindly.
According to a report published in The Washington Post in September, 2017, the 40th annual LGBT Funders Report for 1970-2010 found that of the $487 million meant for programs and organizations serving the LGBT population, just $84,000 was disbursed to groups that served bisexuals. The report also mentioned that various researches show that bisexual individuals have higher rates of depression and anxiety.
Some of the mental health struggles of individuals belonging to bisexual community are:
Denial: People belonging to the bisexual community face discrimination because of which they are forced to repress their actual selves, which ultimately leads to the development of a denial state. This denial phase can prevent one from establishing and strengthening an emotional connect with the loved ones, leading to bewilderment and disappointment and other mental health issues.
Low self-esteem: Bisexual individuals face staunch criticism whenever they visit any religious or social gathering dominated by heterosexuals. They are met with strong indifference even in school and at colleges. In addition, the self-esteem of bisexual individuals goes for a toss when they experience such a treatment. Many a times, they are not welcomed with open arms at gay clubs, gay bars, LGBT meets and many other places. This deathblow to their self-esteem can easily translate into substance use disorder (SUD), self-harm and suicidal ideation.
Depression: Like everyone else, bisexuals have also ventured into the online world of dating. However, they face discrimination there as well. Some of the popular dating websites have members who mention that bisexuals need not contact. This discrimination compels them to keep their identity under the wraps. In case of relationships, when the partner discovers their bisexuality, it might lead to violence and trust issues. This makes them extremely depressed and they often retrieve in their shells.
Anxiety: Bisexuals have to face a lot of biphobia (a dislike or fear of bisexuals) which makes them more susceptible to anxiety. Because of biphobia, they are considered promiscuous and less trustworthy. These people stay closeted and thus, lack of social interactions can cause anxiety.
Suicide: According to a study, young students who identify themselves as bisexuals are susceptible to suicidal ideations seven times more than their heterosexual colleagues. Bisexuals also struggle with the guilt of getting attracted to more than one gender and thus, they often wish they could change their sexual orientation.
Road to acceptance
Bisexuals are for real and very normal people like you and me. They are not looking for any attention and just seek normal things from their relationships like love, respect, acceptance, mutual attraction and security. It is important for homes, schools, colleges and places of work to be bisexual-friendly so that such people are not bullied, socially marginalized and rejected. Parents, teachers and policy makers need to be sensitive toward the needs of bisexual individuals.
Moreover, bisexual individuals need to present themselves as they are. However, in spite of all their effort, if they fail to garner the required support and continue to face problems, they must seek professional support so as not to fall prey to a serious mental illness.
If you or your loved one is suffering from any kind of mental illness, contact the California Mental Health Helpline to learn about mental health facilities in California. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 855-559-3923 or chat online with our representatives to know about one of the best mental health centers in California.