Can being LGBTQ+ have an effect on Mental Health?
The LGBTQ+ community is broad and represents a multitude of gender expressions and sexual orientations. While diverse, members of this community may struggle at times with their mental health due to the complexities of navigating their identities in our society. LGBTQ+ individuals are at risk of experiencing negative overall health challenges due to their gender expression and sexual orientation.
June is national Pride Month to honor the LGBTQ+ community. All across the country, parades and events are held to celebrate the beauty, resilience, history, and diversity of the LGBTQ+ community. Events are also held around the world in celebration.
During the Stonewall Uprising from June 28 to July 3, 1969, gay and trans activists fought against the policing of transgender and gay individuals. Today, Pride Month is celebrated to honor the Stonewall Uprising and the queer and trans activists who continue to fight for equality for the LGBTQ community.
LGBTQ+ Mental Health Challenges
The process of learning about and accepting one’s gender and sexual orientation can be a time of fear and anxiety for an individual. As our society begins to shift towards accepting individuals more, queer and trans individuals have a better chance to enter spaces where they are affirmed and celebrated.
LGBTQ+ people, especially younger individuals, experience higher rates of mental health issues in their lives. Transgender and queer teenagers who are not accepted by their families have a higher risk of self-harm, suicide ideation, and homelessness than those who receive familial support for their identities.
Some LGBTQ+ people also have a second or third marginalized identity that could result in further marginalization and affect their mental health negatively. Trans people of color are more likely to experience violence and harassment, due to their race and gender identities than the general U.S. population. LBGTQ+ individuals also experience higher rates of substance abuse, homelessness, and trauma than their heterosexual counterparts.
Mental Health Resources for LGBTQ+ People
Over the years, research about the mental health of queer and trans individuals has grown, but there is still much to learn about how we can support and uplift the LGBTQ+ community. Learn more about how to support the queer and trans community by visiting the resources below.
- The Trevor Project
- The Trevor Project helpline
- The LGBT National Help Center
- National Center for Transgender Equality
- American Psychological Association
- The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN)
- The Human Rights Campaign
If you or someone you know has a mental illness, is struggling emotionally, or has concerns about their mental health, there are ways to get help. Use these resources to find help for you, a friend, or a family member.