The lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) community faces mental health conditions just like the rest of the population. However, you may experience more negative mental health outcomes due to prejudice and other biases. Knowing what challenges you may face as a member of the LGBTQ community and how to find and work with LGBTQ-inclusive providers can help ensure more positive outcomes. (NAMI.org)
Mental Health Conditions affecting LGBTQ
LGBTQ persons are 3 times more likely than others to experience:
- major depression (6 times higher in LGBTQ youth than in the general population),
- generalized anxiety disorder,
- posttraumatic stress disorder,
- thoughts of suicide (35-65% higher in LGBTQ youth than in the general population),
- alcohol and substance abuse (between two to three times higher in this population than the general population).
Why are mental health conditions so high for the LGBTQ population?
- fear about coming out and discrimination,
- stigma and prejudice based on their sexual orientation or gender identity,
- societal bias against mental health conditions,
- stress associated with hiding their orientation from friends and others in the community
- fears about lack of safety in talking with people supposed to be providing mental health support,
- stress associated with denial of civil and human rights, abuse, harassment, victimization, social exclusion and family rejection.
The LGBTQ community is at a higher risk for suicide because of the challenges gaining support from peers and from the community, as well as the increased risk for discrimination, mental health issues and substance abuse. Suicide is a leading cause of death for LGBTQ individuals ranging in age from 10–24, with rates of suicidal thoughts and attempts ranging from 35-65% in this age group. Persons with good family support have a much lower likelihood of suicide attempts than those without such support.
There is Hope!
Factors that matter most in helping LGBTQ individuals:
- early intervention,
- comprehensive treatment,
- family support.
- Helping LBT couples via couples counseling
It Gets Better campaign: http://www.itgetsbetter.org/pages/about-it-gets-better-project/
The Trevor Project : national, 24-hr, toll-free confidential suicide hotline for LGBTQ youth at 866-488-7386. The Trevor Project also provides an online chat and confidential text messaging—text “Trevor” to 202-304-1200.
NCW Staff: It is important to seek counseling with clinicians up-to-date on the effects of challenges facing LGBTQ individuals. We have staff that are experiencing in working with these specific issues. At NCW, we provide a safe, unbiased environment for you to work through any challenges that are facing you as an LGBTQ individual.
Our clinicians taking new LGBTQ clients are: