If you identify within the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, your mental health is vital to take care of. As the LGBTQ community is at risk of discrimination and harassment, your mental health is vulnerable. Compared to heterosexual individuals, LGBTQ people are three times more likely to experience a mental health disorder and four times more likely to commit suicide.
It’s incredibly important to address any mental health issues you’re facing and get the help you need. There are several mental health resources out there for LGBTQ youth. No matter why you’re struggling, from coming out to bullying, there is a service that can help you live a happier life.
Help With Coming Out
Opening up to your family and friends about your sexuality or gender identity can be a terrifying experience. If you come from a family who may not be accepting of LGBTQ people, coming out can feel impossible. But there are many resources available to you and your family so you can build confidence and come out loud and proud.
- The Guardian’s 10 Tips to Coming Out: This article gives teens advice on how to come out to their familes in the best way possible and provides tips on how to deal with the situation tactfully and confidently.
- The Human Rights Campaign: This LGBTQ rights organization fights for equality and justice for the LGBTQ community every day, and they even started a National Coming Out Day to celebrate those with the bravery and strength to come out to family and friends. October 11 this year will mark the 30th anniversary of the day’s creation. The HRC has created a helpful resource guide on coming out, which outlines definitions of LGBTQ terms and ways to come out to loved ones.
- The It Gets Better Project: This organization sets out to let LGBTQ teenagers know they’re not alone and reassure them it will get better for them. Providing support and coming out stories from fellow teens, this resource helps LGBTQ youth relate to others and share their coming out experiences to the world.
Struggling for Acceptance
After coming out, your family and friends may need some time to process the news, or they could take it badly. Two recent films in theaters, “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” and “Boy Erased,” focus on LGBTQ teens who are rejected by their families and sent off to a gay conversion therapy camp. These types of treatments have been shown to have very damaging effects on LGBTQ teens’ mental health. But there are several resources for parents to gain an understanding of their child’s sexuality or gender identity and to learn how to support them fully.
- Parents.au.ReachOut.com: This is a helpful website providing parents with an overview of LGBTQ definitions and guides on how to be there for your child when they’re coming out about their sexual orientation or gender identity.
- The Family Acceptance Project: This organization helps to prevent mental health issues for LGBTQ youth by providing parents videos and brochures on the importance of acceptance for LGBTQ teens. Their website includes educational materials on parenting an LGBTQ child and what to say after their child comes out to them.
- Genderspectrum.org: For teens coming out as transgender, this is a helpful resource for trans youth and their parents to learn about different gender identities and what medical services are available to them.
- ItsPronouncedMetrosexual.com: This website is perhaps the most comprehensive place to learn LGBTQ definitions and help those who may be confused about what some terms mean.
- Advocates for Youth’s 10 Tips for Parents: This article includes many noteworthy pieces of advice, including to never come out to others about their child’s sexuality without their child’s permission and to get to know the LGBTQ community better.
- PFLAG: This nationwide organization helps families of LGBTQ children unite and share experiences with each other. This resource helps parents of LGBTQ youth learn about the community better and meet other parents they can relate to.
Dealing With Bullying or Suicidal Thoughts
Being bullied as an LGBTQ person is sadly still a common occurrence across America, but many organizations are there for you to help you feel better about yourself and talk things through. Common mental health problems such as depression and anxiety are often seen in LGBTQ youth. If you’re struggling with these issues because of factors such as bullies or unsupportive parents, these resources can help you build self-esteem and confidence in yourself.
- The Trevor Project: This organization started a 24/7 hotline to help LGBTQ teens with depression or suicidal thoughts. They developed a text line and online chat platform to help LGBTQ youth in more accessible ways. Their website also features educational resources for those struggling with mental health issues and provides teens with opportunities to get involved with the LGBTQ community.
- Stopbullying.gov: This is a helpful resource for anyone struggling with bullies at school and provides information and guidance on how to prevent bullies from targeting you.
- LGBT National Youth Talkline: This is another great way to talk through your feelings to people who will listen and help you address the issues you’re facing.
- Suicide Prevention Lifeline: This organization’s website features many helpful resources for LGBTQ individuals struggling with mental health issues and includes information on how to find allies in your area who can help you.
- The True Colors Fund: Co-founded by pop singer Cyndi Lauper, this organization’s mission is to end homelessness among LGBTQ youth and provides resources to those in need.
- Trans Lifeline: This is a hotline specifically for transgender individuals struggling with mental health conditions and need someone to talk to for help.
All of these organizations are there for you to help you provide support and love to you or your LGBTQ child, sibling, or friend. Being open about your sexuality or gender identity can be daunting, but these resources can ease that process by providing helpful tips and useful information.
If you or someone you know experiences mental health issues, it is important to seek help from a qualified professional. Our Resource Specialist can help you find expert mental health resources to recover in your community. Contact us now for more information on this free service to our users.
Author Bio: Nick Rudow is a freelance writer from Boise, Idaho and a graduate of the University of Montana’s Journalism School. His main writing focus is on issues affecting the LGBTQ community and mental health treatments.
The opinions and views expressed in this guest blog do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in this article or linked to herein.
Photo by Kat Wilcox from Pexels
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