The LGBTQIA+ community faces disproportionate rates of mental health conditions in comparison to the general population. Studies show that 1 in 3 LGBTQIA+ adults face mental health challenges, in comparison to 1 in 5 adults in the general population.
These mental health challenges come from a wide range of factors, both internal and external, and of course vary person to person, but typically include:
- Feelings of shame, isolation, confusion, and dysphoria
- Rejection by family, friends, and the general community
- Homelessness as a result of rejection by family or loved ones
- Lack of support system or an accepting environment
- Physical, verbal, or sexual harassment and abuse
- Inadequate medical and psychiatric healthcare
- Conflicting religious or spiritual beliefs
- Fear of being “outed” as well as the consequences of being “out”
Improving Mental Health in Your Community
Allies – non-LGBTQIA+ people who are advocates and active supporters of the community – are crucial to helping offset the disproportionate rates of mental health challenges in the LGBTQIA+ community. Allies can help in ways such as:
- Educating themselves on LGBTQIA+ terminology and history
- Fostering genuine relationships with LGBTQIA+ people in their lives
- Intervening in situations of harassment or discrimination
- Using LGBTQIA+ people’s pronouns and names correctly
- Exemplifying basic acceptance of LGBTQIA+ people’s identities and acknowledging their individual struggles
Research shows a strong connection between identity and mental health. A 2020 survey by The Trevor Project reported 82% of LGBTQIA+ youth with at least one supportive person in their life, as well as access to a space they felt accepted, were 50% less likely to attempt suicide. By simply being welcoming and accepting of the LGBTQIA+ people in our lives, we take the first step to helping improve mental health in the community.
Mental Health Stats in the LGBTQIA+ Community
• LGBTQIA+ people are twice as likely to struggle with depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. Trans and Non-binary people are four times as likely.
• LGBTQIA+ adults are twice as likely to attempt suicide, and risk for youths are four times higher than their peers. Trans suicide attempts are estimated at 40%, compared to 5% in the general population.
Resources for LGBTQIA+ People
Remember – you are never alone! Countless organizations across the world are recognizing the importance of providing mental health resources for LGBTQIA+ adults and youth. A few examples include:
- The Trevor Project: Providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQIA+ people
- Audre Lorde Project: LGBTQIA+ People of Color community organizing center
- It Gets Better Project: Uplifting, empowering, and connecting LGBTQIA+ youth around the globe
Pride is about love, joy, and community: three essential keys to wellness! Let us come together, LGBTQIA+ people and allies, to celebrate our likeness as well as our differences. When we care for ourselves and each other, we create a world in which everyone can take pride in their mental health.