It's Pride Month!
This month we celebrate #PRIDEMONTH! Today I'd like to talk a bit about the unique mental health needs of our LGBTQ+ community. Like every community, there's a huge need for mental health help and resources. The LGBTQ+ community in particular is more likely to have mental health needs, and face more hurdles in getting that care.
The rates of depression and anxiety are higher in people who identify as LGBTQ+. In particular, studies have shown that transgender individuals are more likely to report suicidal ideation or have had a suicide attempt in the past. There is a high stigma against getting mental health care, and many who do face unnecessary prejudice by mental health systems.
While we can't pinpoint one exact cause of the increase in mental health disorders in any community, a common thread found is the inability to live safely as you identify. If you are constantly facing discrimination, prejudice, and refusal to be acknowledged and loved for who you are, it make sense that you'd also start experiencing depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.
Many LGTBQ+ identifying individuals face discrimination. It can be overt, like a family member disowning them, or a law challenging their right to exist. It can also be less obvious, like the microaggressions faced daily. In certain areas, there may be no one else to socialize with. Isolation is constantly linked to increased depression and anxiety.
So what can you do to help? First, remember to treat everyone with respect. If you know someone who is struggling, be there with them. Support them as you would anyone else. If they need mental health resources, I've included some links below for LGTBQ+ sites dedicated to mental health. If you're a provider, be mindful of your biases. If you're interacting with a trans individual, use their pronouns. Protest against unfair laws and discrimination. Be an activist in your community.
If you're celebrating Pride this year, be mindful of how you do so. Remember that Pride started in the midst of a protest for LGBTQ+ rights. While rainbows are everywhere consumers exist, make sure you're buying from companies with a history of support of the LGBTQ+ community, not just those "rainbow washing" for a month while spending the rest of the year acting against their best interests.
And lastly, remember the inequities within the LGBTQ+ community, specifically those who identify as BIPOC. Layers of discrimination can add up.
In Colorado, you can check this link for mental health resources https://lgbtqcolorado.org/resources/wpbdp_category/mental-health/
Trevor Project: https://www.thetrevorproject.org/
GLBT National Hotline - 1-888-843-4564
LGBT National Youth Talkline - 1-800-246-7743
Trans Lifeline - 877-565-8860
As always, NAMI is a wonderful resource. I'm going to link you directly to their LGTQ+ page for more information https://www.nami.org/Your-Journey/Identity-and-Cultural-Dimensions/LGBTQI