Health and Fitness,  Mental Health

Supporting Mental Health In The LGBTQ+ Community

The post is developed in partnership with BetterHelp.

People who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer (LGBTQ+) face unique mental health challenges that often are more pronounced than those of the general population. 

But why is this the case? Let’s delve into the factors at play here.

Exploring unique life experiences
Many LGBTQ+ individuals have experienced situations that left them feeling uncomfortable or unwelcome. Whether it’s facing discrimination, sexism or violence, these experiences can take a toll on mental well-being. 

Imagine being constantly surrounded by negativity and hostility – it’s easy to see how this could impact one’s mental health.

Discrimination, homophobia and transphobia are pervasive issues that can profoundly affect the mental well-being of LGBTIQ+ individuals. The fear of rejection, social isolation and the often-difficult process of coming out can exacerbate feelings of depression, anxiety and self-harm.

Understanding minority stress
Mental health struggles are a reality for many people, and for those who identify as LGBTIQ+, these challenges can be particularly acute. The minority stress model helps explain the emotional toll marginalized populations experience, including those in the LGBTQ+ community. 

This stress is socially based, unique and chronic, stemming from societal structures and attitudes that shape our world. LGBTQ+ individuals face additional stressors that heterosexual people never face, such as fears of discrimination or bias based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Understanding the unique experiences and societal pressures faced by members of the LGBTIQ+ community is essential for effectively addressing these issues. Here are just a few:

Discrimination and social stigma – The constant stress and discrimination LGBTQ+ individuals experience can lead to a variety of mental health conditions. For example, anxiety disorders are more prevalent within the LGBTQ+ community, with a significant number of people experiencing symptoms of anxiety on a weekly basis.

 Depression is also common, affecting a large percentage of LGBTQ+ individuals, particularly youth.

Hate crimes and violence – Hate crimes pose a significant threat to the safety and security of many within the LGBTIQ+ community. Targeted because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, race or religion, members of the community are at a heightened risk of experiencing violence and harassment.

Certain groups within the LGBTIQ+ community, such as gay men, young people and those from minority ethnic backgrounds, face increased vulnerability to hate crimes.

Health care challenges – Accessing health care can be a challenge for LGBTIQ+ individuals, with many people facing unequal treatment and discrimination from health care providers. Fear of judgment or mistreatment often can lead to avoidance of medical care, further exacerbating health disparities within the community.

Under the Equality Act of 2010, health care providers are obligated to provide fair and equal treatment to LGBTIQ+ individuals. Knowing one’s rights and advocating for oneself is essential in ensuring access to quality healthcare services free from discrimination.

Alarming statistics
Statistics surrounding mental health in the LGBTQ+ community are concerning. LGBTQ+ individuals are roughly twice as likely to experience a mental health condition, compared to the general population. 

Transgender individuals, in particular, face high levels of depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts. In fact, 48 percent of transgender adults have reported that they considered suicide in the last year, compared to 4 percent of the overall U.S. population.

Substance use disorders also are more prevalent among the LGBTQ+ community. In addition, eating disorders are more common within the LGBTQ+ community, especially among those who identify as transgender or gender nonconforming.

Here are some additional statistics around mental health within the LGBTQ+ community:

  • 57 percent of LGBTQ+ people report that either they or an LGBTQ+ friend or family member has been threatened or non-sexually harassed. 
  • 51 percent report that they or an LGTBQ+ friend or family member has been sexually harassed.
  • 51 percent report that they or an LGBTQ+ friend or family member has experienced violence because of their sexuality or gender identity.
  • 59 percent of LGBTQ+ people report feeling that they have fewer employment opportunities 
  • 50 percent believe they are paid less than non-LGBTQ+ people.
  • 38 percent of transgender people say they have experienced slurs.
  • 28 percent have experienced insensitive or offensive comments because of their gender identity or sexual orientation. 
  • 22 percent of transgender individuals say they have avoided doctors or accessing health care because t of concern they would be discriminated against.

Seeking help and building resilience
For those struggling with mental health concerns, there are resources available. Hotlines, support groups, and counseling services specifically tailored to the LGBTQ+ community offer assistance and guidance. 

Online therapy can also be a helpful option. Check out BetterHelp’s overview on affirmative therapy to
learn more:

Key takeaway
Addressing mental health challenges within the LGBTIQ+ community requires a multifaceted approach that acknowledges the intersectionality of identities and experiences. And creating a future where minority stress no longer disproportionately affects marginalized communities requires collective effort. 

By raising awareness, advocating for equal treatment and fostering inclusive environments, we can work toward improving mental health outcomes for all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

One Comment

  • Apart Cy

    Tao lang naman sila na masasaktan
    Kaya mahalaga ang equal treatments
    Hoping for that,na maitatak din sa ISIP at puso sa bawat isa sa atin

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