Our mental health is just as important as our physical health – in fact, the two are closely related and rely on many of the same lifestyle factors. Yet, to many of us, mental health is an afterthought. We visit the doctor regularly, but not the psychiatrist. We care for our bodies, but not our minds.
It shouldn’t be this way – and LGBTQ individuals need to be especially careful about their mental health. Here’s why, and what to do about it.
LGBTQ individuals face unique mental health challenges
LGBTQ individuals have the same mental health problems that their straight cisgender peers do – work-related stresses, relationship stresses, and the threat of mental health disorders. But LGBTQ individuals also have additional sources of stress. We live in a country where the rights of LGBTQ individuals are not always secure. LGBTQ individuals can face harassment and hate from bigots. And the process of coming to terms with an LGBTQ identity and revealing that identity to family, friends, and others can be stressful, depressing, and emotionally explosive – especially in our society, which is still imperfect in so many ways that hurt LGBTQ individuals.
The unique mental health challenges faced by LGBTQ individuals are linked to disparities in health outcomes. LGBTQ individuals can be more vulnerable to certain serious mental health issues than their straight and cisgender counterparts are. Bisexual and homosexual individuals are more likely than their straight counterparts to show signs of depression. An alarming 60 percent of homosexual, bisexual, and queer youth reported feeling hopeless or sad to a degree that caused them to stop doing activities they usually enjoyed — a major symptom of depression.
Tragically, transgender individuals are much more likely than cisgender individuals to take their own lives. Adolescence is a particularly dangerous time, but depression and suicidal thoughts are, of course, serious issues at all stages of life.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of mental health risks for LGBTQ individuals. Suffice it to say that LGBTQ individuals should be particularly proactive about caring for their mental health. They should focus on healthy lifestyle choices and seek therapy.
Mental health is important to everyone
Being an LGBTQ individual means that you’ll have certain specific reasons to seek out therapy. But even if you feel that some of these things don’t apply to you, you should be confident that therapy would be good for you. Why? Because it’s good for just about everyone.
You don’t need to be mentally ill to benefit from therapy. You don’t need to have a minor disorder, either. You don’t even need to be stressed or upset. Therapy is just about understanding our thoughts and developing strategies for dealing with things that could hurt our mental health – things that can be as complicated and serious as depression and substance abuse, or as simple and common as getting annoyed when someone cuts you off in traffic. Therapy can make you a happier, healthier person, and it’s something that you should consider under all circumstances.
You can seek therapy that suits your identity
While mental health is important to everyone, this does not mean that mental health treatment should be “one size fits all.” Far from it, in fact. Experts generally agree that mental health treatments should be tailored as much as possible to each person’s unique situation and challenges.
And that’s why LGBTQ individuals should consider therapy that addresses their specific situations. There are LGBTQ therapists available who specialize in all sorts of situations and all kinds of therapy. Whether you’re looking for gay couple therapy, therapy for depression as a transgender individual, strategies for dealing with anxiety, or addressing any other mental health or lifestyle needs that are related or seemingly unrelated to your gender identity or orientation, you can and should look for therapists who understand and respect LGBTQ identities and lifestyles.
About The Author:
James North is a young entrepreneur, who has accomplished a great feat in the world of marketing and advertising. He is the husband of an accomplished writer and the father of two young adults. He has been contributing to a digital platform for quite some time now. He loves to share his innovative ideas and thoughts so that readers could be benefited. He loves playing cricket in his leisure time.