October is filled with mental health awareness activities: Mental Health Awareness Week (Oct 3-8), National Depression Screening Day (Oct 6) and World Mental Health Day (Oct 10). While we highlight awareness and education in October, our staff work tirelessly throughout the year educating folks about LGBTQ mental health. Mental health teams have presented at events, classes and conferences such as WPATH, New York Medical College, Transgender Health 2016 at Rutgers, and the LGBT Health Workforce Conference.
As of 2011, an estimated 1 in 4 American adults suffer from mental illness in any given year – and LGBTQ individuals are almost 3 times more likely than others to experience a mental health condition such as major depression, PTSD, or generalized anxiety disorder. Higher rates in mental illness in the LGBTQ community stem from a variety of factors including oppression, discrimination, stigma, violence or the threat of violence – especially for trans and gender non-conforming communities of color, along with rejection and lack of access to social support systems and resources. What’s more, LGBTQ-identified individuals are known to experience higher rates of greater psychological distress, with gay and bisexual men in particular at higher risk for suicidality among LGB communities. LGBT youth are 4 times more likely to attempt suicide and anywhere from 38-65% of transgender people experience report experiencing suicidal thoughts.
Additionally, LGBTQ people experience higher rates of substance use due to stigma, lack of culturally competent care and minority stress such as harassment and bullying which can lead to even greater health disparities.
For these reasons and more, increased attention, support and funding is needing for LGBTQ sensitive and competent mental health resources while we need to work to dismantle the oppression LGBTQ people face, and the stigma surrounding mental illness at large. If you are a patient at Callen-Lorde, check out our mental health resources including support groups ranging from anger management, to art therapy, transfeminine peer support and more. We’ll also be tabling in the 18th St lobby October 3-7, and October 10 with information, giveaways and more. Join us in taking the #StigmaFree pledge in raising awareness for mental illness, and replacing stigma with hope!
Learn more about the national movement here:
Additional Resources (from NAMI):