LGBTQ & Mental Health: What we need to know
Mental wellbeing is one aspect that is almost always overlooked as part of leading a healthy life. It is, however, one of the most crucial components. Most of our day-to-day lives revolve around it. Poor mental health can have a variety of consequences that can be easily avoided with the right help. Much like everyone else (or maybe even more), the lesbian, homosexual, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) community faces these difficulties. However, they may face much greater hurdles when it comes to caring for mental health. This is often linked to current biases and prejudices that exist in certain communities.
The LGBTQ community is more likely to suffer from mental illnesses like depression and anxiety and if not treated, in the long run, leading to PTSD. Furthermore, the stigma associated with mental disorders may prevent people from finding assistance.
What impact do mental health problems have on the LGBTQ community?
The LGBTQ population is more likely to suffer from mental illness. According to a new survey, 61% of individuals suffer from depression, 45% from PTSD, and 36% from anxiety disorders. Furthermore, 40% of transgender people have attempted suicide at any point in their lives. This is almost nine times the overall rate in the United States.
There is no one-size-fits-all explanation for why these discrepancies happen. However, trauma and stigma play a major part. Many LGBTQ people face difficulties in receiving adequate mental health treatment. According to a Rainbow Health poll, 10% of people put off getting insurance or didn’t get treatment at all because of healthcare professionals’ disrespect or prejudice.
According to the U.S. Transgender Study, the prevalence is much higher for transgender people, with 23% declining to see a doctor for fear of being mistreated. What impact does a person’s identity have on their mental health? We must be able to live and be loved just as we are. Only then, will we feel less depressed and have better self-esteem. There has been extensive research conducted on the subject of identification. The results suggest that we feel whole only when we are able to accept and embrace our identities. This will make us more self-assured about who we are.
How do we treat people identifying as LGBTQ with respect?
It is possible to be curious and genuinely concerned about someone’s life without it being perceived as intrusive. Ask them open-ended questions, if you have to. Let them lead you into their lives and let them decide their level of comfortability of disclosing information. Better yet, treat them like any other person without altering your behaviour on their gender or sexual orientation. This is a pro-life tip to all of us for all social interactions with anybody.
How do we assist someone who is experiencing difficulties?
Offer help in the same way you will to anyone else. Active listening will always be a good place to start. You can also ask them directly how you can help them. It is also essential that we express acceptance and show respect through our speech and behaviour.