LGBTQ mental health

Some people identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans. Other people don’t feel that they necessarily fit into the traditional categories of gender and sexuality. Some people who identify as LGBT may experience difficulty that affect their health and well-being.

HOW BAD IS IT?

Being LGBT does not automatically mean that you will have mental health issues. However, a review of studies on mental health issues in the LGBT community found the following:

  • LGBT people are more at risk of suicidal behaviour and self-harm than non-LGBT people
  • almost half of trans people in Britain have attempted suicide at least once; 84% have thought about it.
  • gay and bisexual men are four times more likely to attempt suicide across their lifetime than the rest of the population
  • half of black, Asian and minority ethnic LGBT people state that they’ve faced discrimination within the LGBT community
  • a third of bisexual people say they can’t be open with anyone in their family

COULD THERAPY HELP?

It might not be easy to talk about, but getting help with issues you may be struggling to deal with on your own is one of the most important things you can do.

Talking with a therapist trained to work with LGBT people may help you deal with issues such as:

  • difficulty accepting your sexual orientation
  • coping with other people’s reactions
  • feeling your body does not reflect your true gender (gender dysphoria)
  • transitioning
  • low self-esteem
  • self-harm
  • suicidal thoughts
  • depression from long-term effects of bullying and discrimination
  • hostility or rejection from family, friends or your community
  • fear of violence in public places

You may benefit from getting help if you feel tired or lack energy, shut yourself away from people, use alcohol or drugs to cope with feelings or harm yourself.

WHO CAN HELP?

You may find in the first instance, talking to your GP is beneficial. Some doctors may know what help is available locally and can help you decide which treatment is best for you.

Nationwide and local organisations also offer mental health advice, support and services, including helplines for LGBT people. Search in your local area to discover what is available to you.