Suicidality, clinical depression, and anxiety disorders are highly prevalent in men who have sex with men in Mumbai, India: Findings from a community-recruited sample

Murugesan Sivasubramanian, Matthew J. Mimiaga, Kenneth H. Mayer, Vivek R. Anand, Carey V. Johnson, Priti Prabhugate, Steven A. Safren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

59 Scopus citations

Abstract

In India men who have sex with men (MSM) are a stigmatized and hidden population, vulnerable to a variety of psychosocial and societal stressors. This population is also much more likely to be HIV-infected compared to the general population. However, little research exists about how psychosocial and societal stressors result in mental health problems. A confidential, quantitative mental-health interview was conducted among 150 MSM in Mumbai, India at The Humsafar Trust, the largest non-governmental organization serving MSM in India. The interview collected information on sociodemographics and assessed self-esteem, social support and DSM-IV psychiatric disorders using the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI). Participants' mean age was 25.1 years (SD=5.1); 21% were married to women. Forty-five percent reported current suicidal ideation, with 66% low risk, 19% moderate risk, and 15% high risk for suicide per MINI guidelines. Twenty-nine percent screened in for current major depression and 24% for any anxiety disorder. None of the respondents reported current treatment for any psychiatric disorder. In multivariable models controlling for age, education, income, and sexual identity, participants reporting higher levels of self-esteem and greater levels of satisfaction with the social support they receive from family and friends were at lower risk of suicidality (self-esteem AOR=0.85, 95% CI: 0.78-0.93; social support AOR=0.76, 95% CI: 0.62-0.93) and major depression (self-esteem AOR=0.79, 95% CI: 0.71-0.89; social support AOR=0.68, 95% CI: 0.54-0.85). Those who reported greater social support satisfaction were also at lower risk of a clinical diagnosis of an anxiety disorder (AOR=0.80; 95% CI: 0.65-0.99). MSM in Mumbai have high rates of suicidal ideation, depression, and anxiety. Programs to improve self-esteem and perceived social support may improve these mental health outcomes. Because they are also a high-risk group for HIV, MSM HIV prevention and treatment services may benefit from incorporating mental health services and referrals into their programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)450-462
Number of pages13
JournalPsychology, Health and Medicine
Volume16
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2011

Keywords

  • India
  • Mumbai
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • men who have sex with men (MSM)
  • mental health
  • suicide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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