It should come as no surprise that even today, people in the LGBTQIA+ community face regular discrimination. While the community has made huge strides in recent years when it comes to equality and inclusivity, there are still dangers and concerns.
Some people seem determined to keep discrimination against LGBTQIA+ individuals at the forefront of their public conversations. Those in the community are ridiculed online, in person, and even through local and state legislature.
Discrimination against any group can have lasting mental health effects. It’s important to understand some of those psychological effects on the LGBTQIA+ community, and how it can impact those who are trying to feel safe being who they truly are.
The Prevalence of Discrimination in the LGBTQ+ Community
If you take five minutes to search about the mental health of the queer community, you’ll find plenty of statistics that talk about threats of harm, employment discrimination, and insensitive and offensive comments.
Frankly, the statistics can be shocking, at best. But, at their worst, they’re disgusting and dangerous.
The worst part, though, is that some of those statistics are tied to healthcare and basic needs. For example, 22% of transgender individuals avoid doctors and other healthcare professionals because they’re afraid of discrimination.
Not being able to access healthcare services out of fear isn’t acceptable for any group or minority. Not only can it affect someone’s mental well-being, but it can have obvious physical consequences as well.
Mental Health Struggles
If there’s a silver lining to the discrimination faced by the LGBTQIA+ community, it’s that many individuals within the community are incredibly resilient. Even though we still have a long way to go with ending discrimination, individuals are also receiving more support and protection than ever before.
LGBTQIA+ individuals are also often more likely to take care of their mental well-being and even seek out mental health support if they’re struggling, which is another powerful reason why they’re able to manage their mental wellness so effectively.
Still, those within the community are often at a greater risk of developing issues like anxiety or depression. Transgender individuals typically have higher rates of mental health issues than other members of the community.
Unfortunately, young people and individuals from other minority groups are often the most affected by discrimination.
It’s hard enough being a teenager or young adult and having to deal with the pressures of school, thinking about a career path, and fitting in socially. When you’re also part of the queer community and you’re being ridiculed for it, it can take a serious toll on your well-being.
Other minority groups who also identify as LGBTQIA+ are at a greater risk of being discriminated against for multiple things, which can feel relentless and overwhelming.
What Can You Do?
When a person in the community surrounds themselves with support, they have a better chance of being happy and healthy. Unfortunately, that clearly doesn’t always happen. A lack of support, combined with discrimination, can lead to anxious or depressed thoughts. A specific act of discrimination (physical or verbal) can also become a traumatic experience and trigger symptoms of PTSD.
If you’re a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, the best thing you can do is to find and lean into your support system. Ideally, that includes friends and family members. If that isn’t possible, though, don’t hesitate to reach out to local resource groups and search for allies. Never assume that you aren’t loved, cared for, or valued.
Struggling? Contact Us
If you’re struggling with your mental well-being already, don’t hesitate to reach out to Integrative Psychotherapy Group for help. Your feelings are valid, and you shouldn’t ignore them or diminish them. Feel free to contact us to set up an appointment soon.