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LGBTQ Identities and Mental Health: Unique Challenges and How to Cope

About 5.6% of Americans identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, or queer (LGBTQ). The world is becoming more accepting of these sexual and gender identities each day, but homophobia, transphobia, and stigma still exist.

LGBTQ people regularly face discrimination, abuse, and trauma because of their identities. These experiences create unique challenges, and LGBTQ people are more than twice as likely to experience mental health disorders than heterosexual people. 

If you identify as LGBTQ, don’t overlook your mental wellbeing. At Boston Neurobehavioral Associates, our team of psychiatrists, counselors, and health care providers are proud allies of the LGBTQ community. 

We provide comprehensive mental health services for people of all ages, genders, and sexual orientations to help them live happier, healthier lives. 

The connections between LGBTQ identity and mental health

Maybe you faced rejection from family and friends when you came out. Or maybe you’ve experienced abuse related to your identity, or you’re dealing with discrimination at work or school.

Being LGBTQ isn’t a mental health disorder, but the social stigma and discrimination that often come along with these identities can negatively affect your mental health. It’s important to recognize how experiences impact your mental wellbeing so you can start healing.

Depression and anxiety

About 61% of LGBTQ people have depression, and another 36% have anxiety. Depression is a common mental health disorder that’s characterized by feelings of hopelessness, sadness, and thoughts of suicide.

Anxiety disorders cause symptoms like intense worrying, sleep disturbances, phobias, and panic attacks. Although they’re separate mental health conditions, depression and anxiety often appear together.

Trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

LGBTQ people are at risk for abuse, violence, and trauma due to cultural stigma. Experiencing trauma, whether it’s emotional, physical, or a combination can manifest in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

PTSD is a mental health condition that causes anxiety, flashbacks, paranoia, and more. Like depression and anxiety, it can interfere with your day-to-day life and your relationships with family and friends.

Suicidal thoughts and actions

People who identify as LGBTQ are more likely to contemplate or attempt suicide than heterosexual or cisgender people. One study found that 40% of transgender people have attempted suicide, which is almost 9 times higher than the average attempted suicide rate in the United States.

Thoughts of suicide can be triggered by depression, but they may also be linked to traumatic experiences, such as physical assault. If you or a loved one is experiencing suicidal thoughts or actions, seek emergency medical care right away.

Finding support for your mental health

If you identify as LGBTQ, you’re not alone. Our mental health professionals at Boston Neurobehavioral Associates offer comprehensive psychotherapy to help you overcome depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other mental health conditions.

Seeking mental health care can reduce negative symptoms, help you build a support network of family and friends, and even save your life. Our therapists strive to equip you with the tools you need to improve your mental health and we also offer medication management as needed. 

Being LGBTQ increases your risk for mental health disorders, but professional counseling can improve your mental wellbeing and your life. From additional LGBTQ resources to confidential talk therapy, we’re here to help.

Contact Boston Neurobehavioral Associates online or call the office nearest you for an appointment.

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