Mental health and well-being is an important part of living a happy and healthy life. Unfortunately, the LGBTQIA community has not always had access to the same level of quality care as other populations. In this article, we will explore how to break down barriers in order to provide more compassionate and understanding care to this population.
Overview of Mental Health, Stigma around LGBTQIA Mental Health
Mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community. Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Good mental health isn’t just the absence of mental illness.
LGBTQIA mental health refers to the unique experiences and challenges that face lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning (LGBTQ) individuals with regard to their mental health. The acronym “LGBTQIA” includes all sexual orientations and gender identities outside of heterosexuality and cisgenderism.
The experience of stigma around LGBTQIA mental health can lead to negative mental health outcomes such as depression, anxiety, shelves self-esteem/worthlessness and increased suicide ideation and attempts. Stigma often arises from a lack of understanding or knowledge about LGBTQIA individuals andmental illness. Additionally, societal messages thatpathologize or demonize LGBT people can foster an environment where stigma thrives.
Understanding the Challenges LGBTQIA People Encounter
It is estimated that 1 in every 5 Americans identify as LGBTQIA. This community faces a unique set of challenges when it comes to mental health and well-being. Here are some of the specific challenges that LGBTQIA people may face
1. Discrimination and marginalization
The LGBTQIA community has long been subjected to discrimination and marginalization. This can lead to feelings of isolation, worthlessness, and despair. Additionally, discrimination can make it difficult to access necessary resources, like healthcare and housing.
2. Violence and abuse
LGBTQIA people are more likely to experience violence and abuse than their non-LGBTQIA counterparts. This violence can be physical, sexual, or emotional in nature. It can occur at the hands of individuals or groups, and can be motivated by hate or ignorance.
3. Internalized homophobia/transphobia
Internalized homophobia/transphobia refers to the negative thoughts and beliefs that an individual holds about their own sexuality or gender identity. This internalized hatred can lead to low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.