Be an Ally in Supporting Mental Health in the LGBTQIA+ Community

As we celebrate Pride Month, we celebrate the progress and growth of the LGBTQIA+ movement.

But we must also acknowledge the difficulties this community continues to face. 

Recent research shows that members of this community are at a higher risk for experiencing mental health conditions, especially depression and anxiety. This is because individuals in the LGBTQIA+ community are more likely to be the victims of discrimination, sexism, family rejection, harassment, and violence. According to the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI), LGB adults are more than twice as likely as heterosexual adults to experience a mental health condition. Transgender individuals are nearly four times as likely as cisgender individuals (people whose gender identity corresponds with their birth sex) to experience a mental health condition.

LGB youth also experience greater risk for mental health concerns and suicidality. LGB youth are more than twice as likely to report experiencing persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness than their heterosexual peers. Transgender youth face further disparities as they are twice as likely to experience depressive symptoms, seriously consider suicide, and attempt suicide compared to cisgender lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer and questioning youth.

So, what can I do?

As a member of the community or as an ally, you can become involved by participating in rallies, advocate for the community, vote against restricting laws, share useful information, and/or donate to local groups. Further, as a family member, friend, or ally, we can respect members of this community by affirming how they choose to live and using their chosen gender pronouns, addressing anti-LGBTQIA+ language and actions when you hear or see them, learning about the early signs of mental health problems, and supporting them in accessing mental health resources such as:

-The Trevor Project, which provides a national, 24-hour, toll-free confidential suicide hotline for LGBTQ youth: 866-488-7386

-It Gets Better Project 

National Center for Transgender Equality

-LGBTQ National Help Center

SAGE National LGBT Elder Hotline