- Barb Valier
Anxiety/Depression among LGBTQIA+ minorities
Updated: Jul 7, 2021
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash
People who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, non-binary or genderqueer have very similar symptoms of anxiety, depression, and suicidality as heterosexual or cisgender (non-transgender) individuals. Sexual and gender minorities experience additional identity-based stressors that can contribute to the development of anxiety and depression due to not fitting in the “norm” of society. Many LGBTQIA+ individuals experience discrimination, which serves as an additional stressor that can complicate a person’s life. Concealment of the person’s identity such as not being “out” about one’s identity or downplaying one’s identity (for example, not mentioning one’s partner in a casual conversation with a co-worker) creates additional stress on the individual. This can temporarily create a safety net for the individual, but in the long run, cause stress, anxiety, and depression. If one experiences bullying as a result of their sexual orientation, this can lead to chronic anxiety and depression. These feelings can lead to loneliness, social withdrawal and can worsen the person’s depression, anxiety, and suicidality.
Some recommendations if you are LGBTQIA+ person experiencing anxiety, depression, or suicidal thoughts:
1. Increase your social support by reaching out to others who share your identity or identities and, to the extent that it's possible, limit your contact with people or places that are not supportive. Many communities will have LGBTQIA+-focused social, sports, or support groups with other people who might be having similar experiences.
2. Find a LGBTQIA+ affirmative therapist. It is important to make sure that their approach to therapy is one that views LGBTQIA+ identities as positive and normal variants of human behavior.
3. Know that there are LGBTQIA+ specific helplines available:
The Trevor Project provides phone, chat, and texting support or LGBTQIA+ individuals 25 years and longer in crisis (https://www.thetrevorproject.org/get-help-now/) or contact the National Suicide Lifeline for people of all ages at 800-273-8255 or check out their website (https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/help-yourself/lgbtq/).
Here, at Think Happy Live Healthy, we offer affirmative and all-inclusive support by all of our clinicians. We do not employ therapists who do not affirm the LGBTQIA+ community.
If you are experiencing stress, anxiety, or depression related to your sexual/gender identity or sexual orientation, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or complete our intake form here: www.thinkhappylivehealthy.com/contact10.