Importance of Mental Health Issues in the LGBTQ Community
Learn about LGBTQ mental health issues and how members of the LGBTQ community can seek help at Anew.
What Does LGBTQ Mean?
The term LGBTQ refers to a vast community of individuals. With the LGBTQ acronym, each letter represents sexual orientation or gender identity—Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer.
How Do Mental Health Conditions Affect the LGBTQ Community?
Mental health is an integral part of general well-being, affecting how people think, feel, and act. Mental health challenges could affect anyone irrespective of sexual orientation or gender identification.
However, according to recent LGBTQ mental health statistics reported by the American Psychiatric Association, members of the LGBTQ community are around 2.5 times more likely to experience a mental health challenge when compared to the general public.1
Importance of LGBTQ Mental Health Awareness
It is important to note that identifying with the LGBTQ community is not a cause of mental illness. Instead, a host of reasons, including discrimination, homophobia, rejection, and other social issues, can increase the likelihood of developing mental health challenges.
LGBTQ-related mental health issues are taken less seriously, leading to a much higher risk of mental health issues developing within the LGBTQ community.
What Are the Most Common LGBTQ Mental Health Issues?
Some of the most common LGBTQ and mental health issues will be detailed below.
Incidences of clinical depression continue to rise, especially among younger demographics. With hate speeches and varying degrees of non-acceptance, depression has become one of the leading mental health issues faced by the LGBTQ community. Unfortunately, individuals in the LGBTQ community react to the societal backlash by refraining from outdoor activities and cutting off relationships, making depressive states more likely.
Anxiety in the LGBTQ community also occurs more frequently among the younger demographics, especially in public gatherings like schools, parks, and malls. This LGBT anxiety can often stem from a place of constant fear and panic coupled with bullying and social discrimination relating to identity and existence.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD may arise from a past traumatic experience or by proxy (listening to someone's story or experiences). PTSD can develop through a traumatic experience for individuals in the LGBTQ community and others who were witnesses or heard about it. PTSD may present as flashbacks, severe anxiety, nightmares, and uncontrollable thoughts about what happened.
substance abuse can result from attempting to escape the scourge of society or manage mental health issues like anxiety and depression. Data from the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) on LGBTQ and mental health suggests that substance use patterns are found more among LGBTQ persons than among the general public.2
Thinking About or Attempting Suicide
According to the CDC, LGBTQs are at greater risk of suicide. Most people in the LGBTQ community may find themselves unable to navigate life through overwhelming pressure and discrimination from society. Unfortunately, this can lead to depression and suicidal thoughts or attempts.
Things That Can Affect Mental Health in LGBTQ Community
There are a host of factors that could affect the LGBTQ mental health, including the following.
The process of coming out as a member of the LGBTQ community can be unpredictable—it could be met by acceptance or hostility. Based on LGBTQ mental health statistics, people report that coming out has led to the severance of their relationships with close family members and friends. These outcomes have varying effects on individuals and their mental health.
Rejections can take different forms. For example, individuals who come out might be shunned from social and religious gatherings and even from friends and families. These rejections tend to have mental health effects, leading to low self-esteem and other mental health issues.
Research has shown that LGBTQ adults who experienced parental rejection in their teens were 8.4 times more likely to report attempted suicide, 5.9 times more likely to report high levels of depression, 3.4 times more likely to use illegal drugs, and 3.4 times more likely to have had unprotected sex compared to those in the LGBTQ community who experienced little to no family rejection.3
Trauma is not limited to physical trauma; it could also stem from harmful hashtags. Unfortunately, it is common to find hateful and discriminatory hashtags and trends on social media. For example, negative phrases that claim belonging to the LGBTQ community is an illness, such as "nonbinary mental illness," "gay mental disorders," and "homosexuality as a mental illness," can affect the mental health of people in the LGBTQ community.
Homelessness and Housing Instability
Homelessness within the LGBTQ community is increasing, and experiencing housing instability can negatively impact mental and overall well-being. A significant cause of homelessness is rejection from family and friends. Being homeless makes LGBTQ members more vulnerable to stigmatization, social abuse, and bullying from society.4
Substance Use and Abuse
Substance use and abuse as a form of escapism is a prominent issue. Substance abuse can lead to more severe mental issues with devastating effects in the long run.
Access to Mental Health Care
Many individuals in the LGBTQ community have limited access to ideal mental health care, worsening mental health issues due to a lack of proper management. Fortunately, LGBTQ and mental health are slowly getting much-needed attention around the world. Although this access is not yet universal, it is still a welcome development.
Cultural Awareness and Doctor Bias
Proper mental health care and management depend on cultural awareness and unbiased medical professionals. Conversely, doctor bias and lack of cultural awareness may hinder appropriate health care delivery when needed, even with adequate access to mental health care.
Racial and Economic Barriers
Being economically disadvantaged and facing constant racial discrimination are indicators of higher a likelihood of having mental health concerns. Being a member of the LGBTQ community may increase the risk of experiencing these factors.
Why Do Members of the LGBTQ Community Have More Mental Health Concerns?
Members of the LGBTQ community are at higher risk of developing mental health issues than the general public. There are a variety of factors that attribute to this, as explained below.5
Having to Cope With Stigma, Discrimination, and Violence
Various sources report that LGBTQs are at a much higher risk of stigma, discrimination, and violence. These acts can come from strangers, colleagues, friends, and even close family members. Furthermore, stigma, discrimination, and violence can be carried out physically (mobbing and beating), verbally (hauling insults and mockery), and online (trolling and cyberbullying). They can also take place anywhere from schools, homes, and work.
Having Negative Feelings About Themselves Because of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
Though the LGBTQ community is vast and ever-growing, they still represent a small percentage of the general population. This can influence the development of negative feelings about oneself, leading to various mental health issues and other LGBT health problems.
Feeling Isolated or Lonely
Feelings of isolation and loneliness could be due to either not having support or not feeling comfortable expressing themselves. Frequently, many people remain closeted. Others who come out may still be alone in their thoughts, worrying about the outcomes of their actions.
Feeling They Must Hide Their Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity
Many LGBTQ members can relate to the feeling of living in another person's skin, preferring to remain in an uncomfortable shell of themselves to avoid ridicule by those around them. Unfortunately, these feelings are harmful and can increase the possibility of developing mental health issues.
Health and Wellness Advice for LGBTQ Patients
The need for mental well-being is essential for everyone, especially people in the LGBTQ community. As a community, the increasing rate of LGBTQ mental illness is alarming, and a call for action is needed.
Below lists some health and wellness advice to promote the mental health of members of the LGBTQ community.
Look for a Provider You Can Trust
Trust remains an essential aspect of any successful relationship. This also applies when searching for a healthcare provider, as trust creates precedence for encouraging healthy conversations and relaying worries and doubts within a safe space without any judgmental behaviors or prejudice.
Be Open and Honest With Your Doctor
Doctors try their best to ensure their patients have optimal well-being. So, members of the LGBTQ community must be open and honest when discussing their health issues with doctors. This helps to allay fears concerning issues like homosexual health risks, transgender and mental illness, homosexuality mental illness, nonbinary mental illness, and gender identity mental illness. These conversations may also accelerate positive outcomes and offer relief for other related LGBT health problems.
Talk to a Mental Health Professional
Engaging in discussions with mental health professionals is healthy for LGBTQs and the community. It helps debunk myths, such as “trans is a mental illness,” “homosexuality as a mental illness,” and “gay mental disorder.”
These professionals also help handle LGBT depression and anxiety cases, proffering solutions and guides. Generally, these professionals enable every individual to realize that identifying as a member of the LGBTQ community is not a mental illness.
Get Help With Mental Health Issues at Anew Treatment Center
Anew Treatment Center in St. Paul, MN, offers a range of health services, from residential to outpatient treatment programs. Our service are specifically designed to help individuals heal, recover, and manage various mental health conditions, including transgender mental health issues.
In cases where members of the LGBTQ community feel stuck in repetitive and unproductive treaments,it is advisable to seek help from Anew Treatment Center. We take on mental health issues from a different and fresh perspective in a supportive, loving environment to overcome LGBTQ mental illness.
Learn More About Our Treamtment Programs
Our team is ready to discuss your treatment options with you. Your call is confidential with no obligation is required.