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Coming out of the closet has a positive effect on mental health.

NBC News at the end of January did a story on ’Carlo Joyce, living in San Diego and working for a large engineering company. The story centered on how Mr. Joyce found that coming out about his homosexuality was helpful to his mental health. According to the news report, “studies conducted by Psychosomatic Medicine, a team of psychologists and neurologists from McGill University and the University of Montreal found that leading that double life affects physical and mental health.”

Disclosing their sexuality to family, friends and co-workers made for psychologically healthier people. The disclosure, it was found, also lowered levels of key stress-related hormones. Another study from last year by a group of researchers from Columbia University in the American Journal of Public Health discovered that after Massachusetts enacted its same-sex marriage law in 2003, there was a significant drop in medical and mental health care visits incurred by gay men.
Lead author of the Montreal study, Robert-Paul Juster, a PhD student at the Centre for Studies on Human Stress at the University of Montreal, said “it seems to be that if you’re using more avoidance coping, and wishful thinking, then you get poorer health. If you aren’t dealing with the problem, it affects health in a negative way.”

On the other hand, dealing with the problem by transitioning from “in” to “out” can instill a great sense of accomplishment. “A rebirth happens that makes them feel much more empowered and conscientious” for having taken what many see as a risky action. That sense of empowerment can have ripple effects benefitting overall health and well-being.
“Once I did come out,: says Mr. Joyce, “it was much less stressful and I found great acceptance and support. Life’s much easier,” he said.

Taking such a step is certainly difficult but relieving stress by being truthful is an important tool for dealing with depression and deteriorating mental health. -Bernadette

For more information on this study check out http://vitals.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/01/29/16742307-lifes-much-easier-coming-out-can-lower-stress-ease-depression?lite

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