June is Pride Month, and it’s also an excellent time to shine a light on the mental health issues that many people in the LGBTQI+ community experience. The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, and Intersexed (LGBTQI+) community represents not only a wide range of identities, gender expression, and sexual orientation- it also includes a community that is diverse in age, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, and religion.
Intersectionality is a term used to describe the overlapping of social identities and related systems of oppression or discrimination. It’s a way of understanding how different parts of our identity can interact with each other to create unique experiences of discrimination or advantage.
The LGBTQI+ community is one group that experiences a great deal of discrimination and oppression. This can take the form of homophobia, transphobia, biphobia, and more. It is also a group united by their shared experiences of marginalization. Although this sense of community can be a source of strength and resilience, discrimination can have a negative impact on mental health.
Unique mental health challenges of the LGBTQI+ community
The LGBTQI+ community faces some mental health challenges that are often overlooked. Discrimination, violence, and exclusion can cause mental health issues.
In 2013, 40% of LGBT adults who took part in this survey had experienced rejection from family members or friends.
The stress of living in a society that doesn’t accept you can lead to anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems.
Some statistics on LGBTQI+ mental health:
LGBT individuals are more than twice as likely as heterosexuals to have a mental illness.
Transgender people are nearly four times more likely to have a mental illness than cisgender persons (individuals whose gender identity and birth sex match).
LGB adolescents are at a greater risk of developing mental health problems and taking their own lives.
According to a recent study, LGB youth are more than twice as likely to report feeling persistently unhappy or depressed.
Transgender youth are more likely to suffer from depression, seriously consider suicide, and attempt suicide than their cisgender lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, or questioning peers.
These statistics are alarming, and it’s clear that more needs to be done to support this community.
Coming out to family and friends is also a unique experience. For many, embracing their LGBTIQ+ identity has a positive impact. It can give people:
Better connections with your friends and relatives
a sense of belonging and a feeling of community
For others, it can mean facing rejection from loved ones, leading to a multitude of self-esteem and mental health issues.
It’s important to remember that everyone’s experience is different. Some people in the LGBTQI+ community have few issues with their mental health, while others struggle. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to mental health problems, but resources are available to help. If you or someone you know is struggling, don’t hesitate to reach out to mental health services near you.
Some common misconceptions about LGBTQI+ mental health
Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions about LGBTQI+ mental health. One of the most common is that LGBTQI+ individuals don’t experience mental health problems. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Research has shown that LGBTQI+ individuals are more likely to experience mental health problems than their heterosexual counterparts are.
Another misconception is that all LGBTQI+ individuals have the same experience. This is also not true. Each person’s experience is unique and can be influenced by many factors, such as gender identity, sexual orientation, race, and socioeconomic status.
Perhaps the biggest misconception is that just identifying as LGBTQI+ is a mental condition. The reality is that:
Difficult experiences coming out
Discrimination and stigma
Social exclusion and isolation
all play a huge role in developing mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression, and suicidal ideation.
Seeking treatment when you’re part of the LGBTQI+ community
It’s challenging to find a therapist that you feel safe with, but it is important to keep looking until you find someone who understands your experience. When meeting with a new therapist, be sure to explain your situation and why you’re seeking help. It’s also important that your therapist is experienced in working with LGBTQI+ individuals and understands the unique challenges of being a member of this community.
If you’re not sure where to start, there are many online directories that can help you find a therapist in your area. You can also ask your doctor for recommendations or look for LGBTQI-specific mental health resources in your community. Remember, seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness.
How does Pride Month help with mental health?
Being part of a community is linked to better mental health. The LGBTQI+ community may find a sense of togetherness at Pride, reducing the isolation that many feel.
It promotes awareness and boosts visibility. It’s validating for members of the community to know that they aren’t alone, and it’s a place where they will be celebrated and accepted for who they are.
How can we support mental health in the LGBTQI+ community?
One way we can help is by promoting LGBTQI+ inclusive mental health resources. This includes ensuring that LGBTQI+ people have access to culturally competent therapists, support groups, and other resources that meet their specific needs. We can also work to destigmatize mental health in the LGBTQI+ community by talking about these issues openly and honestly.
Educating yourself is essential. If you have someone in your life who identifies as LGBTQI+, it’s important to let them know you are there for them. It’s not always easy to know what to say or do, but here are some ways you can show support:
Take their lead on which terms to use, and if you’re not sure, ask.
Be open-minded and willing to try again, even if you make mistakes.
If you make a mistake, apologize and move on.
Ask what their preferred pronouns are, and use them.
Don’t ask trans-identified persons about their birth name or the medical procedures involved in the transition.
If you’re looking for more information about mental health resources for people in the LGBTQI+ community, you can try these:
–The Trevor Project: a national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning young people under the age of 25.
–The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: a 24/hour, toll-free suicide prevention hotline available to anyone in the United States.
–The LGBT National Help Center: a national organization that provides crisis intervention and peer support to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning people.
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please reach out for help. There are many resources available to LGBTQI+ people, and no one has to feel alone when going through these challenges. If you need mental health services, contact Serene Health. We have flexible appointments 7 days a week through our telehealth platform so that you can speak to a therapist online from the location of your choice. Call us at 844-737-3638 or visit www.serenehealth.com to book an appointment.