The majority of gay and bisexual men maintain good mental health.
But compared to other mature men, gay, bisexual, and questioning men are at a higher risk for mental health problems and suicide.
Through the many years I’ve practiced psychiatry and written about it, I’ve heard about the pain many older men in heterosexual marriages experience.
If they come out as gay, they will sacrifice everything.
Deciding to Come Out
Mature men who question their sexual orientation often feel that if they come out as gay, they will sacrifice everything they once valued. They endure a form of preparatory grief when they face a choice between remaining married or coming out as gay.
In considering coming out, these conflicted men magnify the negatives and minimize the positives.
One study found that the age of serious suicide attempts by gay and bisexual men coincided with major coming out milestones.
One group of researchers found that 12% of urban gay and bisexual men have attempted suicide, a rate three times higher than the overall rate for American men. Almost half reported multiple attempts.
Young people have been the focus of most research on suicide, especially with an increased awareness of the impact of bullying. Very little research has explored gay, middle-aged men and suicide.
One common theme underlies almost all successful suicides: a sense of hopelessness.
Coming Out and Suicide
Many people contemplate suicide when they first begin to have serious questions about their sexual orientation. For some, they can think of no other way to resolve the conflict.
Whether you’re young or old, one common theme underlies almost all successful suicides: a sense of hopelessness.