According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the risk of having mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety disorders is almost three times higher for those identifying as LGBTQI+.
Even more disturbing is the suicide rate among the LGBTQI+ community, which is the second leading cause of death among those ages 10 to 24. Studies have shown that abuse of drugs and alcohol are almost twice as likely within the LGBTQ community.
Harassment is also quite common, with reportedly 65% of LGBTQ people having experienced some form of harassment or discrimination in 2016. Fortunately, there are mental health and wellness tips to help you or your loved ones transcend any issues that you may be facing.
Mental Health & Wellness Tips to Help Keep You on a Positive Path
- Manage Your Stress
First and foremost, you need to take care of yourself, and that means your body and mind by getting proper nutrition, exercise, and adequate sleep.
- Exercise—There is nothing better to release stress and frustrations than working out, which will also help you sleep.
- Eat Healthily—Eating nutritious foods and drinking plenty of water will help keep you feeling energetic and ready to take on the world.
- Meditate—Clearing your mind of all the negativity through meditation will not only calm your thoughts, but it will also calm your body.
- Know When to Walk Away
If things are getting heated during a discussion with someone who does not agree with your lifestyle, it is OK to walk away, because your emotional well-being is more important than having the last word.
- Find a Creative Outlet
Think about something you love doing or want to learn how to do, and do it, but put everything you have into your creation to make it your own.
- Knitting or Beading
- Find a Support Group
Talking with others who are going through similar challenges can be a comfort as well as a sounding board for anger and frustrations. When you have to deal with people who discriminate because someone is different, it can lead to feelings of rage that may then turn into self-doubt, which can spiral even further down into depression or even suicidal thoughts. Expressing thoughts and feelings among others who understand and share the same frustrations can help ease the inner pain that creates mental health challenges.
- Reach Out to Organizations that Support the LGBTQ Community
There are several different groups out there that support the LGBTQ community in a myriad of different ways. Whether you need the support yourself or want to lift up and encourage others, discovering these organizations can be very beneficial. They can provide resources to help when you’ve decided to come out and also help prevent bullying. No one should ever be bullied, and reaching out to Stop Bullying is a positive step to make a difference. If you can help prevent someone from bullying another, then you have helped make a difference in another LGBTQ person’s life.
- Seek Outside Therapy
Sometimes, it can be extraordinarily difficult to deal with the roller coaster of emotions, and talking to a compassionate LGBTQ+ therapist can help.
- A Safe Space—Having a trained professional in a safe environment can help guide you through irrational thoughts, which can be an actual life raft when you feel as if you are drowning in your mixed-up emotions.
- Learn New Ways to Handle Emotions—Talking to a third-party one-on-one can be a sounding board needed to not only release inner turmoil but also give you alternative ways to handle stressful situations that may arise in your life, such as:
- Struggling to accept your sexual orientation
- Feeling your body does not reflect who you were born to be
- Dealing with other people and their reactions
- Hostility or rejection from family and friends
- Depression from the long-term effects of discrimination and bullying
- Suicidal thoughts
- Knowing When to Seek Help
Asking for help can be difficult for many people because they think it means they are weak, but getting help does not make you fragile, it builds inner strength. Everyone needs help at some point in their life, and knowing when to get help is imperative. Pay attention to the following signs:
- You no longer want to do the things you once enjoyed
- Feeling tired or low on energy more than usual
- Shutting yourself away from others
- Using alcohol or drugs to cope with feelings
- Having thoughts about harming yourself or suicide
You are special and unique, and even though the actions of others may seem cruel and unjust, you must realize that you will prevail. You are here for a reason. You have an essential purpose in life, and your unique qualities make you who you are, and that is a beautiful thing. Be kind to yourself and seek help if you need to, because that will only make you stronger in the end.
About the Author • Tess DiNapoli is an artist, freelance writer, and content strategist. She has a passion for yoga and often writes about health and wellness, but also enjoys covering the world of fitness as well as the fashion industry. Tess has written for several blogs and websites and worked with a number of different businesses and organizations, including Miami Hypnosis and Therapy.
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.
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