'Our life is pointless … ': Exploring discrimination, violence and mental health challenges among sexual and gender minorities from Brazil.
Worldwide, Brazil has the highest prevalence of violence and hate crimes against sexual and gender minorities (SGMs) among countries with available data. To explore the impact of this scenario, we conducted a qualitative study with 50 SGMs from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Among the participants, 66% screened positive for generalised anxiety disorder, 46% for major depressive disorder and 39% for PTSD. A third reported low self-esteem (32%) and one quarter low social support (26%). Experiences of interpersonal discrimination were highly prevalent (>60%), while institutional discrimination related to employment or healthcare was reported by 46% of participants. Verbal abuse is very common (80%), followed by physical assault (40%). Sexual violence is highly frequent among women. Focus groups analysis highlighted three major domains: (1) stigma and discrimination (family, friends and partners, in schools and health services, influencing social isolation); (2) violence (bullying, harassment, physical and sexual violence); and (3) mental suffering (alcohol and drug abuse, depression, suicidality, anxiety). Our findings suggest a close synergy between experiences of discrimination and violence with selected mental disorders. This complex synergy might be better addressed by longer-term individual and group-level interventions that could foster social solidarity among the different groups that comprise SGMs.
Malta, M; Gomes de Jesus, J; LeGrand, S; Seixas, M; Benevides, B; Silva, MDD; Lana, JS; Huynh, HV; Belden, CM; Whetten, K
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