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Disparities in the unmet mental health needs between LGBTQ+ and non-LGBTQ+ populations during COVID-19 in the United States from 21 July 2021 to 9 May 2022.

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Wang, Yuqi 
She, Rui 
Qin, Pei 
Ming, Wai-Kit 


BACKGROUND: Evidence highlighted the likelihood of unmet mental health needs (UMHNs) among LGBTQ+ than non-LGBTQ+ populations during COVID-19. However, there lacks evidence to accurately answer to what extent the gap was in UMHN between LGBTQ+ and non-LGBTQ+ populations. We aim to evaluate the difference in UMHN between LGBTQ+ and non-LGBTQ+ during COVID-19. METHODS: Cross-sectional data from Household Pulse Survey between 21 July 2021 and 9 May 2022 were analyzed. LGBTQ+ was defined based on self-reported sex at birth, gender, and sexual orientation identity. UMHN was assessed by a self-reported question. Multivariable logistic regressions generated adjusted odds ratios (AODs) of UMHN, both on overall and subgroups, controlling for a variety of socio-demographic and economic-affordability confounders. FINDINGS: 81267 LGBTQ+ and 722638 non-LGBTQ+ were studied. The difference in UMHN between LGBTQ+ and non-LGBTQ+ (as reference) varied from 4.9% (95% CI 1.2-8.7%) in Hawaii to 16.0% (95% CI 12.2-19.7%) in Utah. In multivariable models, compared with non-LGBTQ+ populations, LGBTQ+ had a higher likelihood to report UMHN (AOR = 2.27, 95% CI 2.18-2.39), with the highest likelihood identified in transgender (AOR = 3.63, 95% CI 2.97-4.39); compared with LGBTQ+ aged 65+, LGBTQ+ aged 18-25 had a higher likelihood to report UMHN (AOR = 1.34, 95% CI 1.03-1.75); compared with White LGBTQ+ populations, Black and Hispanic LGBTQ+ had a lower likelihood to report UMHN (AOR = 0.72, 95% CI 0.63-0.82; AOR = 0.85, 95% CI 0.75-0.97, respectively). INTERPRETATION: During the COVID-19, LGBTQ+ had a substantial additional risk of UMHN than non-LGBTQ+. Disparities among age groups, subtypes of LGBTQ+, and geographic variance were also identified.



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Front Med (Lausanne)

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Frontiers Media
Medical Research Council (MC_PC_17213)
National Institute for Health Research (IS-BRC-1215-20014)