China's 1st survey on mental wellbeing of gay people

A gay rights activist attends a rally for the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) in Hong Kong on May 17, 2014.
PHOTO: China's 1st survey on mental wellbeing of gay people

The Beijing LGBT Center and Institute of Psychology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences released a report on the emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing of homosexual people in China, to mark the International Day against Homophobia that falls on May 17. The report released on May 16 is the first national survey on the mental health of homosexual people, and it focuses equally on both male and females homosexuals - unlike similar surveys in the past that focused only on gay men.

A total of 1600 respondents from all over the country completed the survey, and about 30 per cent were found to have a tendency towards depression, and about 20 per cent were identified as facing a particularly high risk of depression.

This means that homosexual adults - both gays and lesbians - are four times more likely to become depressed than other groups, and the rate is three times higher among adolescent homosexuals.

The survey also found that people who were confused about their sexual orientation - or who had trouble accepting their sexual orientation - were more likely to suffer from depression than those who had already realised or accepted their orientation.

Additionally, the survey found that though homosexual people are more likely to suffer from mood swings and mental health issues, few are willing to seek psychological assistance.

In the past year, only 7 per cent of respondents said they had sought psychological help, and more than 56 per cent said they had never considered getting psychological assistance.

The survey found that homosexuals in China avoided such assistance due to concerns about the cost, quality of services, and fear of breach of confidentiality.