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Men who have sex with men at increased risk for suicide; discrimination may have increased prevalence

Men who have sex with men (MSM) are at increased risk for suicide, with a much higher prevalence of suicidality than the general population. Now it can be said that it is likely that discrimination, prejudice, stigma, and mental health issues brought about by their sexual orientation may have caused the increase in prevalence.

Photo by Christopher Ott from Unsplash.com

As it is, men who have sex with men (MSM) are at increased risk for suicide, with a much higher prevalence of suicidality than the general population. Now it can be said that it is likely that discrimination, prejudice, stigma, and mental health issues brought about by their sexual orientation may have caused the increase in prevalence.

This is according to a study – “Suicidal ideation, plan, and attempt among men who have sex with men in Nepal: Findings from a cross-sectional study” by Kiran Paudel, Kamal Gautam, Prashamsa Bhandari, et al – that appeared in PLOS Global Public Health.

In this study, the researchers did a cross-sectional respondent driven survey on 250 MSM in Nepal between October and December 2022. Bivariate and multivariable logistic regression was used to evaluate independent correlates of suicidal behaviors of MSM.

The study found:

  • Overall, the lifetime prevalence of suicidal ideation, plans, and attempts among MSM in this study were 42.4%, 31.2%, and 21.6%, respectively.
  • MSM with depressive symptoms, advanced education (higher secondary and above, and smoking habit were at increased risk for suicidal ideation.
  • Those with depressive symptoms and advanced education were more likely to plan suicide, whereas young MSM were significantly more prone to attempting suicide.
  • MSM with moderate to severe food insecurity were 2–3 times more likely to think about, plan, or attempt suicide.

“The lifetime prevalence of suicidal ideation (42.4%), plans (31.2%), and attempts (21.6%) among MSM were alarmingly high,” the researchers noted, adding that “it is likely that discrimination, prejudice, stigma, and mental health issues brought about by their sexual orientation may have been attributed to the increased prevalence.”

And so for the researchers, the results “suggest the importance of early assessment of suicidal behaviors among MSM, and the need for tailored interventions to simultaneously address mental health problems and food insecurity to reduce suicide-related problems among MSM.”

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