LGBTQIA Mental Health Struggles & How to Help
By Corbin Blevins
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.