Mental Health Importance for LGBT Community - Mental Health & Wellbeing Show

Mental Health Importance for LGBT Community

In the UK, the LGBTQ+ History Month is celebrated in February. It is a perfect chance to shed some light on the history of this community and raise awareness about the issues those people face daily.This year’s edition focuses on Pride 50 – the anniversary of the first Pride 50 event in the UK and celebrates it while looking to the future.

LGBTQ+ people often struggle with discrimination, harassment, or even worse societal reactions towards their uniqueness. What follows such negative response is an increased vulnerability and likeness of developing mental illness such as:

·      low self-esteem,

·      depression,

·      anxiety,

·      eating problems,

·      misusing drugs and alcohol,

·      self-harm,

·      suicidal feelings,

·      and other mental health problems.

It is important to remember that we all deserve support and respect regardless of our identity or background. Studies, however, show that rates of depression, anxiety and other mental health illnesses are higher among LGBTQ+ people.

There are three unique risk factors that affect the LGBTQ+ community:

      I.         Hate crime – research found that experiencing hate crime significantly increases the risk of mental health problems. It was noted that 69% of LGBTQ+ people who experienced hate crime suffered from depression and 76% reported episodes of anxiety.

     II.         Bullying – nearly half of the members of LGBTQ+ society were bullied in schools because of their identity. This was shown to have detrimental effects that persist into late adolescence and highly contribute to mental health problems.

   III.         Discrimination in healthcare – according to the research, one in seven LGBTQ+ people avoided seeking healthcare for fear of discrimination from healthcare staff, while one in four had witnessed negative remarks about LGBTQ+ people from healthcare staff while accessing services.

We believe in the future where life is not reduced to black and white, and where love is appreciated in all its states, as much as we appreciate rainbows in the sky after the rain.

To put more colours into life we prepared three pieces of advice for those who struggle with mental health due to their identity:

1.     Talk to someone you trust – although it might be hard to start talking about how you feel, sharing your experiences can make you feel better. If you don’t feel like you can trust and open up to people around you, there are multiple LGBTQ+ helplines you can call.

2.     Take care of yourself – the most important thing you can do is take care of yourself. Healthy body is of a great relief for your mind. Make sure you have enough sleep, that you eat at least three meals a day and drink lots of water. Finally, try to dedicate 10 minutes a day for exercise – it could be as easy as a walk around the neighbourhood. This will help to improve your mood.

3.     Ask your doctor for help – your GP can help you diagnose and offer support and treatments if you struggle with your mental health. You don’t have to tell your doctor that you are LGBTQ+ if you don’t feel comfortable doing that but it might be easier for them to get you the right support once they are aware of that.

As we mentioned above, negative experiences of healthcare staff might be discouraging but no matter your background, sexuality, or identity you deserve support.

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