LGBTQ+ & Discrimination and Stigma

LGBTQ+ & Discrimination and Stigma. A diverse group of individuals from the LGBTQ+ community, each with unique expressions of their identity, coming together in solidarity.

As an advocate deeply committed to supporting the mental health of the LGBTQ+  community, I find inspiration in addressing the unique challenges faced by individuals within  this diverse and vibrant group. The journey towards mental well-being for LGBTQ+  individuals often intertwine with both personal and societal struggles, and understanding  these challenges is essential for fostering a more inclusive and supportive environment. 

LGBTQ+ Discrimination and Stigma:

One of the primary hardships faced by the LGBTQ+ community is the prevalence of  discrimination and stigma. According to a report by the National Alliance on Mental Illness  (NAMI), LGBTQ+ individuals are at a higher risk of experiencing discrimination, which can  lead to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. According to a 2013 survey, 40%  of LGBT adults have experienced rejection from a family member or a close friend. A  2019 school climate survey showed that 86% of LGBTQ+ youth reported being harassed or  assaulted at school, which can significantly impact their mental health. A 2023 report from  The Trevor Project found that just 38% of LGBTQ youth identified their home as an  LGBTQ-affirming space. 

Higher Rates of Suicidal Ideation: 

Tragically, LGBTQ+ individuals face higher rates of suicidal ideation. The Trevor Project, a  leading LGBTQ+ suicide prevention organization, reports that LGBTQ+ youth seriously  contemplate suicide at almost three times the rate of heterosexual youth. This alarming  statistic emphasizes the urgent need for mental health resources tailored to this community. Additionally, transgender and nonbinary persons are more likely than their cisgender peers to  have suicidal ideation. A new study from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law finds  that 81% of transgender adults in the U.S. have thought about suicide, 42% of transgender  adults have attempted it, and 56% have engaged in non-suicidal self-injury over their  lifetimes. The majority (82%) of transgender people have accessed formal mental health care,  compared to 47% of cisgender adults.  

Substance Abuse and Coping Mechanisms: 

Substance abuse is another significant concern, with LGBTQ+ individuals more likely to turn  to drugs or alcohol as coping mechanisms. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services  Administration (SAMHSA) reports that this community is at a higher risk for substance use  disorders, underscoring the necessity for targeted mental health interventions. Results from  the 2021 and 2022 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health reports that lesbian and  bisexual females were more likely than straight females to have engaged in binge drinking in  the past month, and about twice as likely to have engaged in heavy drinking in the past  month. Gay and bisexual males and females were two to three times more likely than their  straight counterparts to have used illicit drugs other than marijuana in the past year. 

Lack of Culturally Competent Care:

Accessing culturally competent mental health care remains a challenge for many LGBTQ+  individuals. A survey conducted by the National LGBTQ Task Force found that a significant  portion of the community faces discrimination from healthcare providers, highlighting the  urgent need for training and education to ensure inclusive and affirming care. 

In my passion for working with the LGBTQ+ community, these statistics fuel my dedication  to breaking down barriers and fostering an environment where mental health support is  accessible, respectful, and understanding. By amplifying awareness of these challenges, we  can collectively work towards creating a society that values and prioritizes the mental well being of every individual, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. 


References: 

Kosciw, J. G., Clark, C. M., Truong, N. L., & Zongrone, A. D. (2020). The 2019 National  School Climate Survey: The experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer  youth in our nation’s schools. New York: GLSEN.  

More than 40% of transgender adults in the US have attempted suicide. (2023, July  20). Williams Institute. Retrieved January 9, 2024, from  

https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/press/transpop-suicide-press-release/

SAMHSA Releases New Data on Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Behavioral Health. (2023, June  13). The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Retrieved January 9, 2024, from https://www.samhsa.gov/newsroom/press announcements/20230613/samhsa-releases-new-data-lesbian-gay-bisexual-behavioral health. 

The Trevor Project. (2023). 2023 U.S. national survey on the mental health of LGBTQ young  people. [PDF] 

Vickie M. Mays and Susan D. Cochran, 2001: 

Mental Health Correlates of Perceived Discrimination Among Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual  Adults in the United States American Journal of Public 

Health 91, 1869_1876, https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.91.11.1869

Claire H., MSN, APRN, PMHNP-BC

Claire H., MSN, APRN, PMHNP-BC

Claire Hinkle, a graduate with a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Texas at Tyler, is a dedicated board-certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.

Leave a Comment