More LGBTQ+ people reported experiencing job loss and worsening mental health due to the pandemic compared with people who do not identify as LGBTQ+, an analysis published last week by the Kaiser Family Foundation found. The pandemic’s negative impact on mental health has been widely discussed by public health experts, but there has been a lack of data specific to how it has affected the LGBTQ+ community, said Lindsey Dawson, coauthor of the analysis and the associate director of HIV policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation.
“LGBTQ+ people have a history of stigma and discrimination,” Dawson said. “They have higher rates of mental illness and lack of access to health care, which is why it’s important to understand the impact of COVID on that community. We know they live on lower incomes and work in industries harder hit by COVID, so this is about understanding how a vulnerable population is impacted.”
While the pandemic has been challenging for everyone, LGBTQ+ people experienced additional burdens due to inequities that have been exposed, said Adrian Shanker, the executive director of the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center in Allentown.
“There’s a sense of exhaustion,” he said. “There is a lot of anxiety that comes up from that and from change in general.”
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