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Why we need to talk more about mental health issues in the LGBTI community

Why we need to talk more about mental health issues in the LGBTI community

a man sitting on a couch in a grey cardigan he is anxiously talking to a woman whose back is facing the camera

People in the LGBTI community may be more susceptible to mental health issues due to a range of factors such as discrimination which can include verbal bullying, physical abuse and inequalities – as well as isolation, homophobia and hate crime.

Research nationwide has found that people from the LGBTI community are more at risk of suicidal behaviour and self-harm and that they are more likely to develop depression and anxiety compared to the rest of the population.

For some people ‘coming out’ can be a liberating experience but if you come out and experience rejection, it can affect your sense of worth. This may lead to people feeling that they have to hide their real self which may cause a decline in their mental wellbeing and increase stress.

Fortunately, there is a growing acceptance of the LGBTI community in the UK in recent years which is helping to combat such issues.

Why is it important to speak out about mental health issues?

Stigma, shame and embarrassment, or any feelings you may be experiencing that your GP or counsellor may not understand, are just a few factors that may prevent someone seeking help.

It is important to speak out about any mental health concerns as containing your emotions for too long can have serious implications both mentally and physically. These emotions can build up and if you do not find a release, can bubble up and weigh on you mentally. If you have experienced any of the following symptoms, you could benefit from seeking help:

  • Feel constantly tired or have a lack of energy
  • Feel fearful
  • Shut yourself away from people
  • No longer want to do things you may have enjoyed
  • Use alcohol or drugs to cope with feelings
  • Have harmed yourself or have thoughts about self-harming

It is important to remember that you are not alone, if you are not ready to speak with friends of family you could seek help from LGBTI support groups.

Here you will be given the opportunity to share your feelings and experiences with others and given advice of where to seek further help, if needed.

Don’t suffer in silence, you should get help as soon as you feel the need. Regardless of how big or small your issues may seem, there will always be someone to help.

What can be the result if a mental health issue is left unresolved?

Mental illness is different from some physical illnesses in that they are not often physically identifiable.

However, like many physical illnesses, they do not simply ‘go away’ over time and often the longer they persist they harder they will be to treat.

People with depression, for example, might only experience a handful of symptoms on a few days to start off with, but if left untreated these may expand and become more frequent.

This can start to affect your daily life, your work, your relationships and your family life, the result of these problems leads on to knock-on effects.

If you or someone you know needs mental health support, please click on this link for a list of global resources.

Chloe Ward is a mental health expert at Smart TMS.