It should come as no surprise that the LGBTQ community is among one of the highest at-risk groups to suffer from mental illness. And while many individuals do have similar needs to non-LGBTQ individuals, there are those areas of concern directly related to being a member of this community.
Although a person’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity may not always cause distress, it is very common for LGBTQ individuals to experience an elevated level of stress, anxiety and depression, which often stems from the social stigma of being a minority group.
According to goodtherapy.org, “LGBTQ individuals seek therapy at a higher rate than their non-LGBTQ counterparts.”
What issues do LGBTQ individuals face regarding mental health concerns that might differ from non-LGBTQ individuals?
Confusion about sexual orientation can play a major role in an individual’s mental health. Struggling (in many cases alone) with confusion about sexual identity can cause an increased level of anxiety. This is also very true when someone is considering coming out.
Coming out can be one of the most frightening things a person ever does. Many people fear repercussions and are often very reluctant to share this part of themselves.
“The most common reason LGBTQ individuals were or are apprehensive to come out is familial tension, isolation, or estrangement,” says Dr. Evan Goldstein in his article, “The Experience of Coming Out,” published on bespokesurgical.com in 2014.- – – advertisement – – –
Unfortunately, it’s quite common for individuals to react negatively to the coming out (whether it be gender identity or sexual orientation) of a family member. This often leads to homelessness, which greatly contributes to the growing number of LGBTQ homeless youth today.
“Serving Our Youth,” a 2015 publication from The Williams Institute available at williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu, reports that “homelessness among LGB youth is a major problem in the U.S. Although LGB (sexual minority) people comprise two to seven percent of the population, about one-third of homeless youth identify as LGB or questioning.”
Additionally, “4 percent of homeless youth identify as transgender, compared with 1 percent of the general youth population in the U.S.,” the publication reports. “LGBTQ youth are at a higher risk for homelessness than are cisgender (gender identity matches with the assigned sex at birth), heterosexual youth.”
Gender dysphoria (a condition where a person experiences discomfort or distress due to not identifying with their assigned gender-at-birth) is a sensitive issue not to be taken lightly. The delicate situation requires special consideration, as individuals may experience a host of issues that pose a significant risk to their mental health.
Without clinical intervention, gender dysphoria can lead to dangerously high levels of depression that can quickly manifest into suicidal thoughts and ideation.
“Forty percent of transgender adults have attempted suicide during their lifetime, compared to less than 5 percent of the U.S. population as a whole,” according to the U.S. Transgender Survey in 2016.
The growing number of non-traditional and blended families are being accompanied by an increase of mental health concerns. Same-sex parents may experience challenges with social acceptance. And, although same-sex marriages have been legalized in the U.S., several forms of legal discrimination still exist.
Read more on QNotes.com.