Everyone is susceptible to mental health struggles. But individuals in the LGBTQIA+ community face additional stressors that others may not. Whether it's the anxiety of "coming out" to family and friends or facing discrimination at work or school, these added stressors can trigger mental health problems.
We know (now) that identifying as LGBTQIA+ is absolutely not a mental illness. Still, transgender and bisexual communities have the highest rates of mental health concerns within the LGBTQIA+ population. Sadly, younger members often struggle the most.
The team at Care New England is here to help. Today, we'll consider some mental health statistics among the LGBTQIA+ community, particularly since the pandemic. We'll address some warning signs you should look for if you're worried about a friend or loved one. But most of all, we'll provide some resources if you need help right now.
LGBTQIA+ Mental Health Statistics to Consider
According to Mental Health America (MHA):
- 4.5% of the US population identifies as gay, lesbian or bisexual.
- Of them, 39% have reported mental illness issues in the past year.
- That's more than 5,800,000 individuals total
The good news is that most people in the LGBTQIA+ community are resilient. With the help of supportive peers, families, and communities, they stand firm in the face of discrimination or traumatic family experiences.
As a rule, they're more likely to seek mental health services when needed. According to MHA, LGBTQIA+ people used mental health services 2.5 times more often than their "straight" counterparts.
Still, the Battle Against Loneliness Continues
Sadly, many negative stereotypes still propagate in the US. HIV / AIDS stigma is one of the most significant negative stereotypes in our country for this population. When LGBTQIA+ people do openly express themselves, they face the potential of rejection or the assumption that they have a virus. And that can exacerbate feelings of loneliness, particularly as the nation tries to normalize in the wake of a pandemic.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, people — no matter how they identify — experience increased problems associated with loneliness.
Mental health issues associated with loneliness may manifest as:
- Sleep problems, like trouble falling asleep, trouble getting up in the morning, or constant fatigue
- Eating struggles, like loss of appetite or overeating
- Stomach aches, nausea
- Mood swings
- Anxiety, panic disorders, or panic attacks
If you're struggling with any of these issues, it's probably time to seek mental health support from a professional or link up with an organization that can point you in the right direction.
Mental Health Support Resources for LGBTQIA+ Individuals
If you're looking for help, you can try these resources or contact us for more.
- Sage Rhode Island offers advocacy services.
- And RI Pride provides plenty of community outreach programs that will uplift you, and connect you with peers.
At Care New England, our mission is to connect you with the health resources you need. And remember, you are not alone. Help is only a phone call away.