Maintaining a positive self-image and strong mental health can be challenging for anyone. However, members of the LGTBQ community often find that their mental health challenges are compounded by their orientation. If you are struggling to determine your sexual identity or facing discrimination for your sexual orientation, studies suggest that you may be more at risk for developing a mental illness than your heterosexual counterpart. In my work as an online counselor, I have worked with several members of the LGTBQ community. This week, I am working to raise awareness of the challenges these individuals face.
Mental Health & The LGTBQ Community: Quick Stats
Individuals who identify as a part of the LGTBQ community often face a variety of unique mental health struggles. The numbers from the National Alliance on Mental Health speak for themselves:
- LGTBQ individuals are almost 3 times more likely than others to experience a mental health condition such as major depression or generalized anxiety disorder.
- Suicide is the leading cause of death for LGTBQ people ages 10-24.
- LGTBQ youth are 3 times more likely to attempt suicide, experience suicidal thoughts, or engage in self-harm than straight people.
- Approximately 20-30% of LGBTQ people abuse substances, compared to about 9% of the general population.
- GBTQ teens are 6 times more likely to experience symptoms of depression than the general population.
I talk frequently about the stigma surrounding mental health issues and the damage it causes. People battling with mental illness are often afraid of the judgment they may face if they open up about their problems, which causes them to struggle silently. When their struggles remain unaddressed, untreated, and unsupported for long enough, it can drive them to self-harm, suicide, or other heart-wrenching consequences.
If you or someone you know is currently struggling with sexual identity or the social repercussions of your orientation, I would be honored and humbled if you would reach out to me. Give me a call at (248) 730-5544 or visit me online to begin the process.
Samantha M. Ruth, Transformational Psychologist
Located outside of Michigan? Contact me via Better Help.