A Glimpse at Mental Health in the LGBTQ+ Community
We all have our highs and lows in life. We all experience joy and pain. We tend to talk about the good and leave out the fact that we are struggling behind closed doors. When someone asks “how are you doing?” do we often answer truthfully? What would the world look like if the humans that surround us knew the deepest parts of our journey through life?
Belonging to a group, such as the LGBTQ+ community can be a strength through building strong bonds and associations, but the identity itself can also coincide with challenges. Nearly 4.5% of the U.S. population identifies as lesbian, gay or bisexual and of that 4.5%, over 39% reported struggling with their mental health (1). If we break this down into numbers based on population, that’s almost 5.8 million humans (1)! What does that mean for us? We are not alone when it comes to our mental health journey, but sometimes it can really feel that way.
Looking within the LGBTQ+ community, bisexual and transgender humans typically experience the highest rates of mental health concerns (1). 38% of transgender humans have experienced slurs directed at them and 28% have experienced offensive comments based on their gender identity or sexual orientation (2). Studies also show that LGBTQ+ individuals face significant health disparities, which are often linked to societal discrimination and denial of civil and human rights. Of the transgender humans surveyed, 22% of them have avoided doctors and health care because they felt they would be discriminated against and 27% have been denied needed health care outright, along with 8% of LGBTQ+ individuals (6).
Further, the LGBTQ+ youth are at an even more increased risk of mental health! 45% of LGBTQ+ youth considered attempting suicide (5). Nearly 1 in 5 transgender and nonbinary youth attempted suicide and BIPOC LGBTQ+ youth reported higher rates than their white peers (5). 60% of these LGBTQ+ youth who wanted to seek out mental health care were not able to get it (5). The good news is that the study found that LGBTQ+ youth who live in a community or household accepting of them reported lower rates of attempting suicide, so be the good the world needs!
Here are some great resources from Mental Health America (1):
Many organizations are fighting against the stigma that surrounds mental health. Check out some of our favorite mental health organizations!
- The JED Foundation
- Hope For the Day
- How Mental
- Sounds of Saving
- Elevation Society
- The Trevor Project
- Project Healthy Minds
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Mental Health Resources For LGBTQ+ Communities (provided by Mental Health America)
The Trevor Project
- TrevorLifeline/Chat/Text: 24/7 support via phone, text, or online instant messaging
National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network: Mental health for queer & trans people of color (QTPoC)
- Mental Health Fund for Queer and Trans People of Color: provides financial support for QTPoC to increase access to mental health support
- Mental Health Practitioner Directory
- Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN): Network of educators, students, and local chapters working to give students a safe, supportive, and LGBTQ+ inclusive education.
Human Rights Campaign: America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve LGBTQ equality.
Resources (organized by topic)
- Huge list of resources available for work place, BIPOC, and so much more.
- QTBIPOC Mental Health and Well-Being
- Coming Out: Living Authentically as Black LGBTQ People
- Bi+ Coming Out Guide
- Coming Out: Living Authentically as LGBTQ Asian and Pacific Islander Americans
- Coming Out: Living Authentically as LGBTQ Latinx Americans
Guide for LGBTQ Youth: This guide from HRC and the Child Mind Institute offers specific tips for LGBTQ youth about the importance of mental health, how to help a friend struggling with mental health issues, and how to find an LGBTQ-affirmative therapist.
- Resources (organized by topic)