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High Number of Suicide Attempts in Gays and Bisexual Men in Canada

(Blogmensgo, gay blog of October 3, 2017) A study (Abstract) by the University of British Columbia (UBC) shows that in Canada the rate of attempted suicide is four times as high in gay and bisexual men as in heterosexual men.

Still Here, the book

Still Here, a book aiming to fight against the taboo of suicide attempts.

No fewer than 12.5% of the study respondents (see methodology at the end of this article) admitted that they had tried to commit suicide at least once. 1.73% of the sample (145 out of 8,382 people) have even attempted suicide within the last year. For 71.7% of those 145 study participants, this was not the first attempt to kill themselves.

The study manager Olivier Ferlatte and his colleagues of UBC put the focus of the study on those 145 people and found that the following three factors are most likely to lead to suicide attempts:

  1. Annual income less than 30,000 CAD (approx. 20,500 EUR) and no university degree.
  2. American-Indian origin (descendants of native Americans)
  3. Bisexual men (or singles) without a female partner.

In the first case, the trigger for a suicide attempt is mostly homophobia and rejection by the own family, but also violence experienced at school or in the community.

In the second case, the reason is clear because even in the straight comparison group, the percentage of suicide attempts in men of native-American origin is twice as high as in men with other origins.

And finally, the percentage of bisexual men with female partners who have attempted suicide is lower than in bisexual singles or bisexual males with male partners.

Ferlatte and his team are hoping that this study will contribute to freeing suicide in Canada of taboos, particularly for gay and bisexual men.

Olivier Ferlatte’s project Still Here tries to bring concerned men to break their silence and make an important contribution to suicide prevention this way.

Methodology: The study data was provided by the CBRC (Community-Based Research Centre for Gay Men’s Health). The anonymous questionnaires were administered online (in English and French) to men who have sex with men between September 2011 and February 2012. The main focus was on those 145 respondents (out of 8,382) who had committed a suicide attempt during the previous year.

Reference: Ferlatte, Olivier & Salway, Travis & Hankivsky, Olena & Trussler, Terry & Oliffe, John & Marchand, Rick. (2017). Recent suicide attempts across multiple social identities among gay and bisexual men: an intersectionality analysis. Journal of homosexuality [study to be released soon, accepted on September 8, 2017].
DOI: 10.1080/00918369.2017.1377489

Frank-S / MensGo
Main source: Radio Canada, October 3, 2017.

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