Many of us have gone through a phase in life when we felt like committing suicide or taking some other extreme step. But somehow or the other, we can manage to come out of that phase and live a normal healthy life. However, some people around us struggle with frequent mood swings and become anxious or depressed for one reason or the other. These feelings have become an integral part of his life. But it is important for them to not take these signs lightly and realize that these are the signs of developing some form of mental health issues.
It is important to understand that belonging to the LGBTQ+ community is not a mental illness or disorder. Instead, this community is at higher risk of experiencing a variety of mental health challenges. According to research, LGB adults are more than twice as likely to experience a mental health condition than heterosexual adults. Transgender individuals are approximately four times more likely than cisgender individuals (people whose gender identity matches their birth sex) to experience a mental health condition.
Causes of Mental Health Issues Among LGBTQs
Several factors have been identified by the researchers that lead to the development of mental health issues in this community. Some of these are:
- Rejection at school or community.
- Lack of supportive environment.
- Bullying and being identity shamed.
- Lack of proper mental health care.
- Substance abuse.
Mental Health Issues Faced by LGBTQs
Being neglected by society or looked down upon affects mental health of those belonging to the LGBTQ community in several ways. Some of these include:
- Low Self-Esteem
Being neglected by society tends to lower an individual’s self-esteem and confidence. The person begins to develop problems in dealing with the societal pressure and negativity surrounding them.
Depression is one of the commonly diagnosed mental health issue among those who belong to this community. When these individuals are mocked, it tends to make them feel low and in turn, leads to the development of symptoms of depression like sadness, hopelessness, inability to sleep, and low self-esteem, to name a few.
Anxiety is one of the most common mental health conditions affecting the LGBTQ+ community. The constant stress, trauma, and emotional abuse lead to the development of anxiety disorder in this community.
- Eating Disorder
Eating disorders are very common in this community. For example, boys who identify as gay or bisexual have restrictive eating behaviours, self-induced vomiting, and even use pills to control their weight. This disorder is usually related to poor body image, gender dysphoria, stress, and other factors.
- Substance Use Disorder
Drug and alcohol abuse is a common issue in the LGBTQ+ community. According to research conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), approximately 34 per cent of adults who identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual have substance abuse disorders. Additionally, 20–30 per cent of people who identify as transgender may have SUD, but research is ongoing. It has also been found that 70 per cent of individuals from the LGB community who abuse substances also have mental health concerns.
- Self-Harm & Suicidal Feelings
These are common problems reported among individuals belonging to the LGBTQ+ community. According to research, Suicidal behaviour among gay, lesbian, and bisexual adults of all ages, races, and ethnicities is 3–6 times higher than their heterosexual peers. Another research showed that 45 per cent of LGBTQ+ youth seriously thought about suicide in the past year and 14 per cent attempted.
- Other Mental Health Problems
The community also gets affected by several other mental health issues like bipolar disorder, dual diagnosis, etc.
Seeking Help Is The Key
Offering help and showing support can serve as a great help in dealing with the mental health challenges faced by the community. It is also important to seek help from a mental health expert to overcome these challenges and lead a healthy life.
If you are struggling with a similar situation or know a friend who is struggling with a similar problem, Not Your Problems can help you gain a better understanding of how support can be offered and Ways in which mental illnesses can be treated. Averted.
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