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Pride: A Spotlight on LGBTQIA+ Mental Health and Community Needs

Pride

Pride is about more than colorful parades - it's about recognizing the struggles and resilience of the LGBTQIA+ community, including the battle for rights, healthcare, safety, and mental wellness. The mental health of queer individuals can significantly fluctuate based on the amount of community awareness, acceptance, and support they receive.

Let's explore how mental health risks can arise in the LGBTQIA+ community and highlight how we can contribute to protecting it.

Risk Factors:

According to The Trevor Project:

  1. Minority Stress: This is the stress resulting from enduring hostile anti-LGBTQIA+ environments and harmful expectations, which can create a mental health crisis, not due to personal identity, but external rejection.

  2. Rejection & Lack of Support: Being unable to express oneself honestly, especially within one's family, heightens the risk of depression and suicidal thoughts. Stonewall's research in 2023 indicates that less than half of lesbian, gay, bi, and trans people feel able to disclose their orientation or gender identity to their entire family.

  3. Physical Harm: LGBTQIA+ individuals face higher instances of violence compared to their heterosexual and cisgender peers. This represents a severe human rights issue.

  4. Discrimination: Despite progress, 73% of LGBTQIA+ people still experience discrimination, particularly when seeking employment, housing, healthcare, and educational services.

Protective Factors:

While risks exist, there are several ways to support and improve LGBTQIA+ mental health:

  1. Peer & Family Support: The acceptance of family, friends, and peers can significantly enhance an individual's mental health.

  2. Community Spaces: Access to LGBTQIA+ dedicated social spaces provides opportunities for networking, creative expression, and accessing healthcare resources.

  3. Supportive Policies: Laws and policies that challenge LGBTQIA+ discrimination, such as those ensuring correct pronoun usage and access to hormone therapies, can considerably boost mental health.

  4. Mental Healthcare: Therapists ethically need to affirm and respect LGBTQIA+ identities. Safe, affirming counselors can provide vital support, community access, and help mitigate discrimination impacts.

To further support, you can for officials that uphold LGBTQIA+ rights (more info at https://vote.gov/).

Resources: Mental Health Hotlines: The Trevor Project, Trans Lifeline Community Organizations: The Center, GMHC, Anti-Violence Project Healthcare: Callen-Lorde, Folx Health, Planned Parenthood International & Asylum: InReach for LGBTQ Asylum Seekers, The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans & Intersex Association Family Planning & Fertility: Queer Birthing Project, Gay Parents To Be Books: Trans Toolshed, Queer Lit

 
Author
Siena Vaccara, LMHC Siena Vaccara received her master’s in Mental Health & Psychological Counseling from Columbia University. Siena believes in encouraging personal growth through education, cultural awareness, and building trusting relationships. She utilizes Feminist and Narrative treatment plans, as well as Cognitive Behavioral and Person-Centered techniques in session to incorporate an integrative psychotherapy approach that honors the unique needs of individuals. She understands the importance of the collaborative therapeutic space being non-judgemental, unbiased, open-minded, and strength-driven. Siena treats individuals with concerns ranging from personal transitions to family planning, identity, mood fluctuations, and stressful life events.

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