LGBTQ adults are more than twice as likely to experience a mental health condition than heterosexual adults and transgender individuals are four times as likely. LGBTQ people often face discrimination, hurtful stereotypes harassment and violence, which can negatively impact mental health.
Younger LGBTQ individuals are especially vulnerable to negative mental health impacts. According to this year’s National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, 45% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year. Among LGBTQ youth of color, this number was even higher.
It’s clear more must be done to address the mental health crisis facing LGBTQ individuals. They are not more prone to mental health conditions, but societal inequalities lead to worse mental health outcomes. Here are some common risk factors:.
Not only do LGBTQ individuals face rejection from their community, the rejection often hits close to home – their own family. This can lead to feelings of guilt, shame and depression. One study found LGBTQ youth who have been rejected by their family are eight times more likely to commit suicide than those with supportive families.
After feeling unwelcome, many LGBTQ youth face housing challenges. More than 1 in 4 have experienced homelessness or housing instability in their lives, and they are two to four times more likely to report mental health issues like depression or anxiety.
Stigma and discrimination
Research shows 73% of LGBTQ youth have experienced discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender expression at least once. Depending on where they live, many individuals may lack social support resources. This creates feelings of isolation and also causes increased stigma from their community.
Barriers to care
Discrimination is also barrier to proper mental health treatment. Many LGBTQ people report feeling hesitant to access care for fear of being harassed or denied due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. In addition to fear of poor treatment, the lack of health care providers who are knowledgeable about LGBTQ health can deter people from seeking care.
According to this survey, 60% of LGBTQ youth who wanted mental health care in the past year were unable to access it. Some of the reasons were fear of discussing mental health concerns (48%), fear of not being taken seriously (43%) and lack of affordability (41%).
Despite the stressors mentioned above, LGBTQ people often overcome and thrive. But no one needs to struggle alone. At Oceans, we know mental health challenges do not discriminate, and we welcome everyone who needs person-centered behavioral health care without judgement. For more information, find an Oceans location near you or fill out this confidential form to have a staff member call you.