Without mental health we cannot be healthy. We all experience emotional ups and downs from time to time caused by events in our lives. Mental health conditions go beyond these emotional reactions to specific situations. They are medical conditions that cause changes in how we think and feel and in our mood. The lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ+) community faces mental health conditions just like the rest of the population. However, you may experience more negative mental health outcomes due to prejudice and other biases. Knowing what challenges you may face as a member of the LGBTQ+ community and how to find and work with LGBTQ-inclusive providers can help ensure more positive outcomes.
LGBTQ individuals are almost 3 times more likely than others to experience a mental health condition such as major depression or generalized anxiety disorder. This fear of coming out and being discriminated against for sexual orientation and gender identities, can lead to depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, thoughts of suicide and substance abuse. Added stressors and any potential diagnosis of depression or anxiety, can prevent even the most confidant person from engaging in a fulfilling life.
My work with LGBTQ+ individuals stems from watching a close friend from college come out to his family and I witnessed how their very conservative beliefs prevented them from truly loving and accepting their son and brother. Since that moment, I knew I wanted to work with the LGBTQ+ community as an ally. My work is centered around helping families find love and acceptance and LGBTQ+ individuals find love and a support system either from their chosen family.