BACKGROUND: High prevalences of depression and suicidality have been found among gay men. This paper assesses the possible impact of Blues-out, a depression awareness campaign based on the European Alliance Against Depression targeting the gay/lesbian community in Geneva, Switzerland.
METHODS: In 2007 and 2011, pre- and post-intervention surveys were conducted among two distinct samples of gay men in Geneva, recruited by probability-based time-space sampling. Effect sizes and net percent changes are reported for mental health literacy and mental health outcomes in 2007 and 2011 as well as among men aware and unaware of Blues-out in 2011.
RESULTS: 43% of the respondents correctly recognized depression in 2011 with no change vis-à-vis 2007. Despite small effect sizes, significant net decreases (from -18% to -28%) were seen in lifetime suicide plans, 12-month suicidal ideation, lifetime depression, and 4-week psychological distress between 2007 and 2011. These decreases were not accompanied by changes in any of the numerous items on attitudes/knowledge, found only when comparing men aware and unaware of Blues-out in 2011. More men aware of Blues-out found specialists and psychological therapies helpful than their counterparts and correctly identified depression and gay men's greater risk for depression.
LIMITATIONS: Community-level assessment with no control.
CONCLUSIONS: Although improvement in depression recognition and decrease in suicide attempts could not be replicated unequivocally in this adapted intervention among gay men, there are indications that this evidence-based depression awareness campaign may have lessened suicidality and mental morbidity and improved mental health literacy and help-seeking.