Bisexual women are more likely to experience mental illness than lesbians, according to a new study.
Research published in the Journal of Public Health shows that bisexual women are a third more likely to have self-harmed than lesbians, and nearly two-thirds more likely to report an eating problem.
The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine analysed responses from 5,706 bisexual and lesbian women living in the UK for the study, taking data from the 2007 Stonewall Women’s Health Survey.
Bisexual women were found to be more likely to remain in the closet – and more likely to experience discrimination from friends.
Dr Ford Hickson, the senior study author, said: “Bisexual people are at particular risk of invisibility and marginalisation from both gay/lesbian communities and mainstream society.
“Although bisexual women in our study reported experiencing less sexuality-based discrimination than lesbians, this did not benefit their mental health.
“Mental health services should be aware of both the differences and the similarities in bisexual and lesbian women’s mental health care needs, and tailor the services they provide accordingly.”
Lisa Colledge added: “These disturbing results echo international findings on mental health differences between bisexual and homosexual people.
“Although non-hetrosexual women as a group have far poorer mental health than heterosexual women, bisexual women report even worse mental distress than lesbians.
“All women deserve equal chances of mental wellbeing and happiness, regardless of their sexuality.
“Homophobic prejudice is now widely and rightly condemned; specific stigma around bisexual identity needs to be similarly confronted.”