Homosexuality and mental health go hand in hand.
Now that I have your attention, it clearly does not in the way that you think. Being gay, trans, questioning isn’t a mental illness in any way. But studies done worldwide has shown that lesbians, gays, bisexuals, inter-sex, trans people show greater levels of anxiety, depression, suicide ideation, as well as substance addiction issues than regular population. The reason for this is the overwhelming opposition and stigma that they face and not because of their sexuality.
LGBT people can, of course, have a mental illness like any other person, but the important takeaway is that being queer is not a mental illness.
Homosexuality and / or transsexual per se doesn’t imply any impairment in judgment, memory, perception, consciousness, stability, reliability, or general social and vocational capabilities.
This is why it is high time all mental health professionals came forward and took the lead in removing the stigma of mental illness that has long been associated with LGBT individuals.
LGBT Mental Health Issues
Various studies have concluded that members of the LGBT community are often discriminated by the very forces and institutions that are supposed to protect them. Stories of abuse at the hands of police, law and even hospitals are common within the community. So it is understandable that the LGBT community are at a higher risk of mental health issues like:
- Suicidal feelings
- OCD – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Anxiety disorders, including panic attacks
- Substance use and abuse
What’s more disturbing is the fact that many LGBT mental health issues often start in the childhood and teen years. But it often goes unnoticed and undiagnosed. The statistics show that LGBT teens show a higher risk for suicide than their heterosexual peers.
Getting Help for LGBT Mental Health
But don’t lose hope. It’s important to know that though the facilities and resources are less and the awareness is low. There are many affirmative and safe avenues available for the LGBT community to tackle their mental health issues.
Many doctors, psychologists and therapists also self-identify as being queer themselves or as gay friendly or specializing in issues of homosexual mental health. You can find these resources through local LGBT support groups such as:
- http://queerala.org/ Contact – +91 80756 45060
- https://snehaindia.org/new/ 24 Hours Helpline
You may also get in touch with Softmind to know more about mental health issues and therapy practices.