Depression in the LGBTQ+ Community
Depression is a mental health condition that while common already in the general population is twice as likely to occur among those who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community.1 While depression falls on a wide spectrum of severity, transgender individuals are also 31% more likely to struggle with major depressive disorder.2 Even more alarming, 40% of transgender adults have attempted suicide.3 LGBTQ+ youth depression is also high as many younger individuals in this community are still coming to terms with who they are. One report even suggests that symptoms of depression in LGBTQ+ teens are six times higher than their heterosexual peers. LGBTQ+ youth are also four times as likely to self-harm, have suicidal thoughts, or attempt suicide as compared to their peers.4
Why is Depression in the LGBTQ+ Community so Common?
Depression in the LGBTQ community can occur for several different reasons but often stem from the unique challenges and obstacles that the LGBTQ+ community faces. Some potential reasons LGBTQ+ depression occurs is because of
- Fear of acceptance
- Prejudice and discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community
- Rejection or use by family members
- Bullying by peers
- Being viewed as an outsider
- Lack of self-acceptance
- Identify problems
- Obstacles accessing social services
Individuals who have yet to come out often struggle to accept their identity or worry about how family and friends will treat them. Those who already publicly identify as a part of the LGBTQ+ community may face harassment or discrimination as well as mistreatment at home, school, or work. These extra obstacles add up and can quickly wear down someone’s mental health and lead to depression in the LGBTQ+ community.
How to Cope with Depression in the LGBTQ+ Community
Because depression in the LGBTQ+ community is so common, it is important that members of this community are able to cope with depression symptoms and allies are able to recognize it. Depression treatment can not only drastically improve someone’s life in the LGBTQ+ community but also potentially save it. If you identify as LGBTQ+ and depression is a recurring problem for you, these tips may be able to help.
As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, not only are you potentially struggling with your identity, but also you may be ignoring your physical and mental health. While it is common to stop taking care of yourself when you are feeling depressed, these healthy habits you are neglecting can actually help combat your depression. Eating right, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep have all been tied to improvements in physical and mental health.5 Taking time for yourself to destress can also go a long way to improve your overall well-being. When you start making these self-care habits more of a priority in your life, you may notice that your depressive symptoms start to be less severe.
Join A Support Group
LGBTQ+ support groups can be helpful for managing symptoms of depression and other mental health conditions. These groups provide you with a way to not only talk about your own experiences but also hear from others who might be going through similar struggles. Support groups can also remind you that you are not alone and help you build a support network you can rely on when times get tough. You can look for these support groups in your local area or search online for virtual support groups or forums; just be mindful that not everything you see online will be helpful.
Find the Right Therapist
If you are struggling, it is important to seek professional help, but not every therapist is equipped to handle LGBTQ-related depression. A therapist who does not have experience with LGBTQ+-specific issues might not be able to offer effective therapy. Those who need help should look for therapists or other professionals who specifically mention LGBTQ+ treatment. If you or someone you love is a member of the LGBTQ+ community and needs help, don’t wait to get care. At Vertava Health, we offer individualized treatment plans to meet patient’s specific needs. We also offer young adult treatment programs to help struggling youth and teens. Contact us today to speak with us confidentially.