The LGBTQ+ Community: Mental Health & How to Help

The LGBTQ+ community experiences mental health issues at higher rates. Based on a youth risk behavior survey 60 percent of LGBTQ+ youth reported feeling sad and hopeless, and had stopped doing activities they used to enjoy (all of which are signs of depression). Those within the LGBTQ+ community are twice as likely to feel suicidal, and four times as likely to attempt suicide. With mental health month coming up in October, I think it is important to discuss the LGBTQ+ community, and offer ways to help and give support.

Showing Support to the LGBTQ+ Community (Being an Ally):

There are many ways in which those who aren’t members of the LGBTQ+ community can be a support to those they know who are. Below is a list of ways to be an ally and a friend to those within the LGBTQ+community.

  • Letting your support be known- this is a small and simple act, but can mean a lot to someone struggling within the LGBTQ+ community
  • Raising awareness- use your voice to speak up against oppression towards the LGBTQ+ community
  • Be a good listener- don’t just assume your friends sexual identity. Be someone they can trust and open up to.
  • Being willing to talk
  • Be open-minded- being different doesn’t mean being wrong
  • Anti LGBTQ+ comments and jokes are harmful- speak up when you hear anyone talking in such a way
  • Confront your own prejudices and biases (if there are any)- it is uncomfortable to do so, but vital to being an ally to those around you
  • Treat everyone with dignity and respect
  • Report misrepresentations of the LGBTQ+ community seen in the media (the website is a great resource to do so. This company works within the media to create inclusive representation).

Families with LGBTQ+ Children:

As a parent or caregiver, your love and acceptance are crucial for supporting your child.

Here are some ways to do so:

  • Express affection when your child comes out to you or you learn about their sexual/gender identity
  • Create an open conversation- ask your child about their gender identity
  • Support your child’s gender expression- use proper pronouns, support haircuts or wardrobe changes, etc.
  • Welcome any LGBTQ+ friends your child may have into your home, and show them the same acceptance
  • Find resources that provide support to youth in the community and share them with your child.

Resources for the LGBTQ+ Community:

As mentioned, there are many mental health struggles within the LGBTQ+ community. Therefore, it is important to know where to reach out for help. Below are a few resources for those seeking mental health services, as well as a few resources of where to reach out for extra support.

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