Mental illness does not discriminate in who it affects. It does not care who you are, what you look like, or any other characteristics. It just develops in people. Yet the ways in which it affects you can be different depending on who you are. For many, mental illness and mental health are a lot harder and more challenging to cope with than for others.
While these factors may not change how mental illness may form or develop, they will change how you can cope with or handle them. There are far too many groups suffering more than others, and among those groups is the LGBTQ+ community. The unfortunate reality is that these communities are already discriminated against without mental illness. This ignorance coupled with the ignorance surrounding mental illness could limit the quality of care that these marginalized communities receive.
This is especially true amongst the youth population, as the younger members of the LGBTQ+ communities often experience more adversity, such as: bullying, difficulty coming out to friends and family members, violence and hate crimes, lack of support, and fear of prejudice and discrimination. And this doesn’t include mental health issues that may arise. When you introduce conditions like anxiety or depression into the equation, it can become incredibly hard to cope with all the challenges that present themselves.
Research has shown that LGBTQ+ youth are six times more likely to experience depression symptoms and are four times more likely to attempt suicide. They are also more likely to commit some kind of self-harm. These numbers clearly show a problem that is growing within that demographic, and it is something that needs to be addressed. These kinds of issues also increase significantly if the child comes from a family that rejects who they are and who they love. These children need help, as they have to fight against a double stigma about their sexual and gender identity and the ignorance that comes with mental illness.
Treating Everyone as Equals
An important thing to remember is that LGBTQ+ youth should not be addressed differently than anybody else. They are still people. They are still human, and while they may have conditions and experiences that are unique to them, they still deserve the same level of care and treatment that we give heterosexual youth.
When given the same attention as any other youth demographic, this inclusivity shows them that they are not being treated differently because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This kind of acceptance can help LGBTQ+ youth in surprising ways. Many of these kids are just looking for belonging and someone to connect with. Changes in how they are treated can help them make deeper connections and reach out to a professional for help with mental health issues when they need it.
It is still a simple philosophy: treat others fairly, with respect, and with an open mind, and help those who need it most. Make yourself an available, accepting, loving, welcoming presence in the lives of LGBTQ+ youth and let them know that they are safe to be who they are with you. This can help that person so much and even create a domino effect for seeking professional help.
From a professional standpoint, there are plenty of youth psychiatrists, therapists, and doctors who can help them tackle and cope with whatever mental condition they may have. All it takes is some quick research and brainstorming, and it is something that you can quickly help them out with. These children should never have to wallow in fear and suffer as a result.
The LGBTQ+ community is undoubtedly in need of empathy, compassion, and understanding from the larger population. They are coping and struggling with so many different obstacles that many people have no idea about or will ever experience. And LGBTQ+ youth need support even more. Children of all backgrounds and beliefs need guidance and mentors in their life because children are still developing and they don’t understand everything. They need acceptance and love from someone who has more life experience and will also advocate for them when they cannot advocate for themselves.
These LGBTQ+ youth are often fighting a two-front war, and a positive person in their life can help fight for and with them. Making them feel loved and accepted and helping guide them towards professional help can be the best thing for them. The mission should be to continue to treat them as they deserve to be treated and to change mental health care and treatment to be more accepting and inclusive.
Overcoming mental health issues starts with finding a welcoming and accepting group of people. This isn’t always easy to find, and many have no idea where to begin the search. That’s where True Recovery comes in. We offer high-quality mental health and substance abuse treatment alongside an incredible community of like-minded people. From professionals to people going through the same challenges, you’ll find support like you’ve never known before. If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with addiction or mental illness, do not hesitate to contact the team here at True Recovery. Our program, founded in 2014, is built around finding what’s best for you to help you overcome your addiction. Our facility is located in Newport Beach, California, with our supportive housing located close to our campus in Costa Mesa. Take advantage of the local beaches, nature preserves, and Orange County community while we fight for you. Call us today at (866) 399-6528.