Mental Health & the LGBT Community: How Does It Affect Us?
When it comes to the LGBT community, mental health awareness is one of several issues that come to the forefront.
According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, LGBT individuals are three times more likely to go through a mental health condition in their life and the stigmas and situations that many have to face on a daily basis play a huge factor in their condition. From coming out to dealing with discrimination within society to even political advances and setbacks within the community, a lot of what the community faces not only play a part in the stress factors within the individuals, but also play a part in how the individuals react to other stigmas brought before them.
Organizations like The Trevor Project and It Gets Better work hard to advocate mental health awareness for LGBT individuals, especially the LGBT youth. The numbers are exponentially high for LGBT youth when it comes to mental health conditions due to harassment, bullying, abuse, negligence, discrimination and other factors due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. They are also more than likely to commit suicide over their straight peers, making it the second leading cause of death in LGBTQ individuals between the ages of 10 and 24, according to The Trevor Project. Considering over the years with discrimination towards the community making a huge media presence, the numbers have continued to rise and nearly send suicide as the leading cause in the near future if the negligence continues in the future.
Speaking of the media, the American Psychological Association did a study in 2002 showing that most media coverage targeting LGBT youth not only influences the community, but the negative depictions of them as highly troubled youth leading a life on a downward spiral triggers the mental conditions of hopelessness, depression, and suicide.
Several individuals have lived closeted lives in fear that coming out will cause humility, shame, and rejection from everyone that they know in the community. Many bisexuals and questioning individuals, more than those believed to be in society today, experience these emotions and it causes outbreaks in their mental capacity, leading to lives of substance abuse, mood disorders, high levels of stress and even death. LGBT victimization continues to rise within the community as negative stigma causes LGBT individuals to feel more as the victim and not the survivor of their obstacles on a daily basis.
Because of the high levels of mental health conditions, it is important more than ever to bring awareness to mental health in all aspects of the community, including in schools and in the workplace. Without awareness brought forth in society, the community will continue to lose more individuals than ever before than there are car accidents annually. Everyone from the neighbor next door to the media and government should bring awareness to the importance of influencing the LGBT community as human beings and individuals who can be whoever they want to be in the land of opportunity.