Mental health and structural harm: a qualitative study of sexual minority men's experiences of mental healthcare in Toronto, Canada.

07:00 EST 3rd December 2019 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Mental health and structural harm: a qualitative study of sexual minority men's experiences of mental healthcare in Toronto, Canada."

Compared to the general population, sexual minority men report poorer mental health outcomes and higher mental healthcare utilisation. However, they also report more unmet mental health needs. To better understand this phenomenon, we conducted qualitative interviews with 24 sexual minority men to explore the structural factors shaping their encounters with mental healthcare in Toronto, Canada. Interviews were analysed using grounded theory. Many participants struggled to access mental healthcare and felt more marginalised and distressed because of two interrelated sets of barriers. The first were , hurdles to mental healthcare not exclusive to sexual minorities. These included financial and logistical obstacles, the prominence of psychiatry and the biomedical model, and unsatisfactory provider encounters. The second were , obstacles explicitly rooted in heterosexism and homophobia sometimes intersecting with other forms of marginality. These included experiencing discrimination and distrust, and limited sexual minority affirming options. Discussions of general barriers outweighed those of sexual minority barriers, demonstrating the health consequences of structural harms in the absence of overt structural stigma. Healthcare inaccessibility, income insecurity and the high cost of living are fostering poor mental health among sexual minority men. Research must consider the upstream policy changes necessary to counteract these harms.


Journal Details

This article was published in the following journal.

Name: Culture, health & sexuality
ISSN: 1464-5351
Pages: 1-17


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