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Posted March 29, 2018
LGBTQ individuals are almost three times more likely than others to experience a mental health condition such as depression or anxiety and LGBTQ individuals have a higher rate of suicide as compared to those in the general population. Much of this is due to minority stress. Minority stress within the LGBTQ community stems from a variety of factors including social stigma, discrimination, prejudice, denial of civil and human rights, abuse, harassment, victimization, social exclusion and family rejection.
LGBTQ people confront stigma and prejudice based on their sexual orientation or gender identity while also dealing with societal bias against mental health conditions. Thus, it can be harder for LGBTQ people to seek or get help.
The following are four things to remember if you or someone you know is struggling:
As much as you feel alone, I can guarantee that some of the people that walk in and out of your daily life have experienced similar pain.
Suicidal thoughts are a product of intense pain, feeling hopeless about decreasing that pain and feeling isolated/alone and/or burdensome to others. For LGBTQ individuals, this isolation and pain can be caused and/or heightened by the stress and fears one experiences in daily life from being LGBTQ.
Get help from a trusted friend or relative. Reach out to places that will have your back and not judge you. National resources include:
You may feel hesitant to access care because you fear being discriminated. While these concerns are completely understandable, it is important to seek help.
Find a mental healthcare provider that takes into account your personal experiences.
If you can’t reach out to an LGBTQ specific mental health center, look for providers that advertise themselves as LGBTQ friendly.
Come with questions you want to ask so that you can be better prepared to share your concerns. Ask about your provider’s experiences with the LGBTQ community. Get a sense of how they may work with you. After your initial visit think about your interactions. Did this person seem at ease with you? Did he or she talk openly about your sexuality or gender identity? Did you feel comfortable?
Remember that seeing a counselor or psychiatrist may be uncomfortable even with the best fit because you are likely working through difficult issues, but if you feel you are being judged for who you are then change providers. It is always your right to find the best provider for you. For more information or to make an appointment with Summa Health's Pride Clinic, call 234.867.7740.
American Psychological Association. (2018). The minority stress perspective. Retrieved March 26, 2018, from, http://www.apa.org/pi/aids/resources/exchange/2012/04/minority-stress.aspx
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014, July 22). Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health. Retrieved March 15, 2018, from https://www.cdc.gov/lgbthealth/index.htm
The Fenway Institute. (2012). Improving the Health Care of LGBT People: Understanding and Eliminating Health Disparities. Retrieved March 15, 2018, from https://issuu.com/lgbtagingcenter/docs/12-054_lgbthealtharticle_v3_07-09-12/3
National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. (2018). Find Support/LGBTQ. Retrieved March 26, 2018, from https://www.nami.org/Find-Support/LGBTQ.