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LGBTQIA Mental Health Struggles & How to Help

LGBTQIA Mental Health Struggles & How to Help

By Corbin Blevins

June 30, 2022

Throughout history, society has widely disregarded mental health. For those struggling with mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive disorder, this has been an incredible struggle, as frequently we are told to just “suck it up”, “have a positive attitude” or “put on a happy face”. Fortunately, over the last few years, mental health (and with it mental healthcare) has become less stigmatized. It is becoming more acceptable to reach out for help and new treatments such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and Spravato are becoming more commonplace. 

However, for many in the LGBTQIA+ community, their journey to be accepted for their truest selves is perceived as attention-seeking. Those who choose to pursue gender-affirming counseling, gay-friendly providers, or surgeries to reflect who they are can receive severe backlash and rejection from those close to them.

Because of this, suicide rates are at an all-time high among transgender youth. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and non-binary individuals frequently report feelings of hopelessness and anxiety as they struggle to find providers, friends, and family who truly love and support them. 

So what can be done to help provide a more mentally healthy society for the LGBTQIA+ community?  Whether you identify as part of the community or not, here are three simple things you can do to support positive mental health for all.

  • Pay attention- if you see someone who seems to be struggling, ask how they are doing.
  • Truly listen- when someone opens up to you, take the time to hear what they have to say and recognize how they are feeling
  • Express love- remember that everyone deserves to feel safe to be themselves. Whether you agree with their personal decisions or not, let them know that you care about them and will continue to be there for them. 

Lastly, if you see someone who is truly struggling, don’t be afraid to help them build a better support system. If you’re worried that they might be suicidal, ask them. This can help them know you are a safe place to talk, and doesn’t increase the risk of suicidal actions. Whether they are suicidal or not, there are many phenomenal outreach programs and LGBTQIA+ friendly providers are becoming available. If you feel comfortable, offer to help them find allies in the mental health community. 

Everyone deserves to feel safe within themselves, and at Heading, our goal is to provide safe, non-judgmental, accessible mental healthcare to all. We accept most insurance and have diverse staff from all walks of life to help ensure we can provide the highest-quality care to people from all walks of life.

As an LGBTQIA+ safe space, we invite all who are searching for allies to reach out to us. We are here for you, and we love you. You deserve happiness, and we would be honored to be your partner in finding it. Whether you are searching for help for yourself or for a loved one, please give us a call at 855-204-2502.

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Celebrating Juneteenth

Celebrating Juneteenth

By Teressa Carter, MSW, LCSW

June 20, 2022

Across the United States of America, millions of Americans young and old take great pride in living here and celebrating freedom every on Independence Day. Juicy watermelon, delicious barbecue, and vibrant fireworks fill the sky across the country as we celebrate living in the aptly named “land of the free”. However, not everyone gained true freedom that day.

 

Juneteenth, which is short for “June Nineteenth” is the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people were freed. This event occurred two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation and almost 100 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Texas was the last state to set all enslaved persons free, and on June 17, 2021, Juneteenth officially became a federal holiday honoring the end to slavery in the United States.

 

As you can imagine, this holiday holds great meaning to many- both in mind and in heart. Holidays and celebrations such as this hold the key to reminding us how far we have come as a nation, and that all people are deserving of love and respect. Juneteenth is not just a celebration of the end of physical enslavement, but a celebration of diversity and individuality.

So as we celebrate this Juneteenth, we invite you to take a deeper look and allow yourself the space to embrace not just who you are today, but who you have been and who you hope to be. Holidays like Juneteenth teach us resiliency, determination, healing, and the importance of recognizing the value in everyone, including ourselves. Self-love begins with recognizing our own needs, so here are a few small ways you can honor your own value during this holiday and throughout the rest of the year.

  1. Set boundaries
    Remember, nobody can take care of you as well as you can. Give yourself permission to speak up if you don’t want to cook the pot roast, feel too tired to go to the zoo, or just need some alone time.
  2. Set goals
    While hearing the term “goal setting” can feel overwhelming at times, goals can be anything: whether it’s taking a candy-making course with your mother-in-law, changing the oil on the car, or spending an hour a week reading a good book. Ask yourself, “What would make me feel more satisfied with my life right now?”, “What would bring me greater peace?”, or even something like “What would make my day feel more enjoyable?” and follow through!
  3. Talk with someone who cares
    Whether it’s a friend, family member or therapist, choosing to spend time in an environment where you can be your authentic self and feel accepted and valued is one of the greatest forms of self-care. Talk about whatever is on your mind- anything from frustrations to successes, and anything in between! If you don’t have a place where you feel accepted and loved for who you are, spend some time looking for one. Therapy is a great place to start!

This Juneteenth let’s take the opportunity to celebrate our resiliency and recognize our own value. If you are searching for a place to start your own mental or emotional healing journey, we have worked hard here at Heading to create a safe and diverse environment to allow you to honor your individual path. We’d love for you to give us a call at 855-204-2502 to learn more about the services and support we offer, or how to find a mental healthcare partner that’s right for you.