Counselling for gay men and depression in London

Depression in gay men is three times higher than in the general adult population.


The good news is that depression is treatable. Talking to a Depression Counsellor who specialises in working with gay men can help.

What is depression?


Depression is a common mental health condition, and sadly even more common in gay men. It is characterised by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed. It can affect our thoughts, emotions and behaviour.

The intensity of depression ranges from mild to severe and can impact any gay men regardless of their age, job, social status, sex appeal, race or background.

  • Mild depression: some impact on your daily life.
  • Moderate depression: significant impact on your daily life.
  • Severe depression: getting through daily life feels nearly impossible.

It is important to understand that depression is a medical condition and is not a sign of weakness or lack of willpower in gay men.

Do I have depression?


Sometimes gay men may find it difficult to differentiate between experiencing depression from the normal everyday highs and lows of life. If you are feeling persistently sad, hopeless or have a sense of despair, seek professional help. Your Doctor would be a good start, and they may recommend a mental health professional, such as a depression counsellor specialising in gay men.


Depression affects everyone differently. If you are experiencing more than one of the symptoms listed, then depending on the intensity and duration, it will give you an indication of whether or not you may be suffering from depression.


Symptoms of depression can present themselves in three ways, psychological, physical and social. Psychological symptoms include feeling tearful, guilty, anxious, irritable, or hopeless. It may also include losing motivation and interest in activities you once enjoyed as well as thinking about harming yourself.´╗┐

Physical symptoms include aches and pains that can't be explained, losing your appetite, having disturbed sleep as well as losing interest in sex. Social symptoms may also be present. These may include withdrawing from spending time with friends, struggling to concentrate at work and difficulties with your family relationships.

Symptoms of depression:

  • Persistent sadness
  • Low mood
  • Feeling anxious
  • Sense of hopelessness


  • Disturbed sleep
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lacking energy
  • Loss of sex drive


  • Withdrawing from friends
  • Neglecting enjoyable interests
  • Struggling at work
  • Difficulties with family

Why am I depressed?


There are lots of different reasons why depression manifests itself. There is no one specific cause.

For some people, depression can be triggered by a major life event. For example bereavement, redundancy, illness or money worries. A combination of these events can trigger a downward spiral.


Depression in gay men however, may develop as a result of specific reasons relating to sexuality. Some gay men may experience discrimination or bulying. Others may be having an internal battle with their sexuality and struggling to "come out" for fear of not being accepted. Or, it may be an HIV daignosis that they are finding hard to cope with.


When we feel low or depressed, it is natural to want to alleviate these feelings as quickly as possible. It is no coincidence that gay men have higher rates of dependency for alcohol and drugs than the general adult population. Alcohol and drugs increase levels of levels of depression and increase the likely hood of engaging in risky behaviour.

Causes of depression in gay men:

  • Homophobic bullying
  • Discrimination
  • Internalised homophobia
  • HIV diagnosis


  • Isolation
  • Low self-esteem
  • Chemsex
  • Alcohol dependency


  • Relationship difficulties
  • Bereavement
  • Redundancy
  • Money worries

How can a gay therapist help gay men with depression?


When we are depressed we can begin to feel a sense of hopelessness. A sense that we will never feel any better than we do now, and that we are beyond help. The good news is that a counsellor can help treat depression through talking therapy.


A gay therapist "gets" and understands what it is like being a gay man, and this can help you explore, unpack and process upsetting memories and traumatic experiences. This is possible by providing a confidential, safe and non-judgemental space, which for too many gay men has being lacking in their lives.


Therapy will help you understand the causes of your depression. It will enable you to develop new tools and strategies so that you can better cope and manage the unique challenges you face.

Benefits of therapy for depression:

  • Improve your mood
  • Feel less alone
  • Sense of hope
  • Boost your self-esteem

  • Learn new coping strategies
  • Understand yourself more
  • Happier relationships
  • Release controlling thoughts

How can you help yourself?


When we experience depression, life can feel impossible. Everyday tasks and activities, which normally we would not think twice about, can can feel overwhelming. It is a times like this when you need to give yourself permission to be kind to yourself. Below are 5 tips you may find helpful:

  • Nurturing parent: Adopt and imagine the role of a nurturing, caring and loving parent who wants you to be happy. Apply it to yourself. What would that nurturing voice be saying to you right now? Importantly, this voice doesn't have to be your actual parents. It could be your Granny or Grandad who would spoil you in the Summer holidays, or a teacher who encouraged you when things were tough at school.

  • Take that first step: Depression can often be acute first thing in the morning. You maybe feeling that getting out of bed it just too much. One way to help, could be to count to three. 1, 2, 3 and legs out of bed onto the floor. This leads to your first step, and like magic the next step will follow.

  • Make your bed: Start the day by taking control. By completing a small task, it engages our brain and we kickstart a sense of accomplishment which can snow ball into he rest of the day.

  • Go for a walk: A gentle 5 to 10 minute walk in fresh air can help you clear your head and increase your energy levels.

  • Treat yourself: When we feel down, it can be accompanied by unkind thoughts about ourselves. We may beat ourselves up and tell ourselves that we don't deserve anything nice or good. The truth is, you do deserve to be happy. So treat yourself. Enjoy the wonderful smell of your favourite coffee and the delicious taste of your favourite cake.

Self-care toolkit for depression:

Be gentle with yourself...

  • Become your own nurturing parent
  • Be kind to yourself
  • Treat yourself
  • Call or meet a friend

Keep it simple...

  • Take that first step in the morning
  • Brush your teeth
  • Shower
  • Get fully dressed for the day

Get active...

  • Go for a 5-10 minute walk
  • Enjoy a swim
  • Book a gym class
  • Try something new

Reduce, limit, or avoid exposure to...

  • Alcohol
  • Chems
  • Grindr and hook up apps
  • Insta and social comparison apps

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"Depression among gay men is three times higher than the general adult population"

Source: American Journal of Mens Health 2017

"50% of gay men who have experienced depression have contemplated suicide"

Source: DJSResearch 2015

"27% of gay men surveyed identified homophobic bullying as the main reason for their depression"

Source: DJSResearch 2015

FAQs

Can seeing a counsellor really help?

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What are the benefit of having therapy for depression?

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Why should I choose Benedicts to help me with my depression?

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Do you offer therapy for depression near me?

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Can you recommend any self-help guides for depression?

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Call Ben on 0203 633 4165 or email him info@benedicts.org.