Mental health problems can affect anyone at any time in their life. According to Mind 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem of some kind each year in England, these can be things like anxiety, depression, self-harm, alcohol & drug abuse and suicidal thoughts.
LGBTQIA+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer or questioning, intersex, asexual and non-binary. Within this blog article we will use the term LGBTQIA+, but we are aware that this does not cover all the ways people define their sexuality or gender. Stonewalls Glossary has a comprehensive list of terms.
Within the LGBTQIA+ community, mental health issues can be even more prevalent, and may be as high as 1 in 2 people. It’s important to remember that being involved with these communities or relating to them does not cause mental health problems, in fact being a part of one of these communities can be very positive for the individual. It can help to increase confidence, provide a sense of belonging, improve relationships and help to increase resilience.
Discrimination & Hate Crime:
The reasons why people who identify as LGBTQIA+ are more likely to endure mental ill health at some point in life is usually multifactorial. But it is most likely to do with facing things like:
• Homophobia, biphobia and transphobia
• Stigma and discrimination
• Difficult experiences of coming out
• Social isolation, exclusion and rejection
• Being misgendered
• Minority stress
‘Hate crimes’ are a form of discrimination and which are committed against people because of their race, sexuality, religion, gender identity or disability.
Individuals of the LGBTQIA+ community are at a greater risk of experiencing hate crime and acts of discrimination or abuse compared to heterosexual people.
Specific LGBTQIA+ groups are at a particular risk (although all groups can experience this), including gay men, young people and those who are from Black, Asian & ethnic minority groups.
Individuals from the LGBTQIA+ groups and communities are more like to experience minority stress including an increased risk of hostility towards them, homophobic culture, which can often lead to harassment, maltreatment, discrimination, abuse and ultimate victimization of individuals.
If you have experienced a hate crime or abuse report it, depending on the severity by calling 999 in an emergency or 101 at other times to contact your local police force.
If you are concerned about your mental health, help is out there:
If you are experiencing mental problems, please speak to us about accessing things like counselling or CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) doing so can help lesson anxious thoughts, and reduce the effects of OCD. Counselling can also be beneficial to work through possible negative thoughts, which have triggered the depression, stress, or anxious feelings.
Self-help is also very important in terms of practicing mindfulness, or other relaxation techniques can greatly reduce stress, anxiety and depressive thoughts. Looking at completing a pleasurable activity or hobby to positively distract the mind, such as getting creative or physically active; practicing art/gardening/exercise can all be hugely helpful.
Also, look for local & national LGBTQIA+ communities to join, as well as https://www.stonewall.org.uk/ or https://mermaidsuk.org.uk/ or https://arcuslgbt.com/ or https://www.healthwatchdarlington.co.uk/advice-and-information/2021-08-03/lgbtq-useful-links-and-information These can be a great way to find support and advice. As well as this, consider speaking to a GP about other support available.
For support and guidance around online safety and security. Please visit: https://www.vpnmentor.com/blog/lgbtq-guide-online-safety/ This guide aims to empower individuals and give them the tools to protect themselves online.
For Further Support:
For further mental wellbeing support including Emotional Resilience courses or if you want to know more about relaxation techniques or positive distraction and therapeutic activities (such as Art, Music, Computer, Walking, Gardening or socialising sessions) please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Darlington Mind also has a variety of other services which may be of interest to you and to assist with your need, please contact us via the following options: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel: 01325 283169 Mobile: 07572 888084 – see our services and support