It’s easy to forget about the importance of taking care of one’s mind. This, however, is a crucial component. Essentially everything we do need it. One’s ability to get things done can be negatively impacted by their mental health on a given day. Avoiding an errand is a basic example. More serious examples include things like repeatedly missing work.
Everyone does, and that includes the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) community. Care for their mental health may be much more difficult for them to access. This is often connected to contemporary biases.
Persons who identify as part of the LGBTQ community have a higher prevalence of mental health issues like sadness and anxiety. And the discrimination that some people feel because of their mental health problems can prevent them from getting the treatment they need.
I work at HealthPartners as a behavioral health care coordinator. I have experience in both in-patient and out-patient mental health care settings, with a focus on helping the LGBTQ community. Moreover, I educate other professionals in the field of mental health on how to deliver treatment that is sensitive to their patients’ cultural backgrounds.
Many of my friends and family members have asked me how they may support LGBTQ loved ones who are experiencing mental health issues. Here are some of the most often asked questions and my responses:
What are the effects of mental illness on the LGBTQ community?
Higher incidence of mental illness are experienced by members of the LGBTQ community. Sixty-one percent have depression, forty-five percent have PTSD, and thirty-six percent have anxiety, according to a recent study.
In addition, over 40% of trans people have made suicide attempts. This rate is over nine times higher than the national average in the USA.
As far as can be determined, there is no one cause for these differences. However, shame and trauma undoubtedly have a role. Unfortunately, many people who identify as LGBTQ have trouble accessing effective mental health care. Ten percent of respondents to a Rainbow Health poll said they had delayed care or not gotten it at all because of bias or disrespect from medical professionals. According to the U.S. Transgender Survey, the percentage of transgender people who avoid medical care out of fear of discrimination is considerably higher.
Can one’s identity be used to predict how they’ll feel emotionally?
We must be accepted and encouraged to express ourselves openly and freely. Having these things makes us happier and more confident. Extensive studies have been conducted on the topic of individuality. As the results demonstrate, self-acceptance is crucial to experiencing fulfillment in life. Because of this, we are able to improve our sense of self-worth.
How can we treat LGBTQ persons with respect?
Being genuinely interested in another person’s life doesn’t have to involve prying into their affairs. Pose free-form queries. Follow their lead in choosing linguistic terminology. If you have any doubts, just ask. Allow yourself to make blunders and start over without getting defensive. Find out the pronouns people would like to use, and stick to those. Although it’s a simple gesture, calling transgender people by their preferred names and pronouns is a powerful show of solidarity. But if you screw up, say you’re sorry and move on. Anyone who identifies as trans should not be questioned about their birth name or the procedures involved in becoming a different gender.
What can we do to assist someone who appears to be having difficulty?
Simply offer the same kind of encouragement you would to anyone else. The first step is to listen attentively. It’s also helpful if you inquire how you can assist. Maintaining an attitude of acceptance and respect in all that we say and do is equally crucial. Take into account the manner in which the person discusses romantic relationships and self-definition. Pose free-form queries. And learn the skills you need to be a reliable ally.
What positive effects does Pride have on one’s emotional well-being?
Pride is a time and place for the LGBTQ community to come together. The result is less loneliness. Furthermore, it raises awareness. Being able to see one’s place in one’s neighborhood as a source of strength is a profound experience. It’s proof that we’re accepted and cherished.
As an added bonus, the LGBTQ community’s long and illustrious history is honored. Both sorrow and joy are a part of this. Positive health outcomes have been linked to a person’s perception of their social connections.