Raising Awareness: International LGTBQ+ Day and Mental Health

One of many groups massively affected with mental health issues is my fabulous LGTBQ+ community. Now before I start with this blog, I want to say this is an area I would absolutely love to explore further but for now to commemorate such an important day I want to get surface level with you about the impact society in particular has had on the wellbeing of the LGTBQ+ community. Whilst International LGTBQ+ Day is about celebrating the rights many (but not all) have it’s not just the positives. It’s a time to share stories of struggle and remind us there is still a very long way to go!


I know so many wonderful people in this community many of which have faced hardship both mentally and physically and honestly it breaks my heart that people are not allowed to be completely themselves in fear of hate or being completely disowned. In particular the mental wellbeing for my lovely LGTBQ+ family is not addressed enough, even in the psychological professional space. Yes, it’s  there but it’s in my opinion always taboo. I remember being in school, and there was a lunchtime group for LGTBQ+ pupils and it was tragic, there was no real push for people to embrace who they are, no repercussions of people telling the staff they were struggling because someone was being in my opinion vile, no real knowledge of what it means to be apart of the community. Now you are probably thinking, how can I have an opinion, and your right I can’t fully, but I will be an ally for life and I will speak to what I think is right and that is everyone deserves happiness and someone to speak out when something is wrong and honestly like with mental heal, brea a stigma that has been around for 100s of years. 

Now that I have rambled on for 3 paragraphs about my personal opinion on the matter let’s get on to the research and the details all about mental health and LGTBQ+.

Introduction to International LGTBQ+ Day and Mental Health


International LGTBQ+ Day stands as a significant occasion and I am dedicating it to highlighting the mental health challenges faced by the LGTBQ+ community. This day serves as a beacon of hope, aiming to raise awareness about the unique struggles and disparities that LGTBQ+ individuals encounter in relation to their mental well-being. By shedding light on the stigma surrounding mental health within the community, International LGTBQ+ Day seeks to promote inclusivity, understanding, and support for all individuals. One example that showcases the importance of this day is the opportunity it provides for LGTBQ+ individuals to share their personal stories, experiences, and emotions regarding mental health openly and without fear of judgment.


International LGTBQ+ Day plays a crucial role in advocating for the destigmatisation of mental health issues within the LGTBQ+ community. By addressing mental health disparities and advocating for the holistic well-being of LGTBQ+ individuals, this day strives to create a more supportive and empathetic environment for those facing mental health challenges within the community. An illustrative example of the impact of this advocacy can be seen in the empowerment it offers to LGTBQ+ individuals to seek help, access resources, and engage in conversations surrounding mental health without shame or discrimination. (One Youtuber who has been very open about this is MannyMUA, who I adore and think really provides a positive light to look up to - amongst many many fabulous creators and influencers!). The proactive approach towards mental health advocacy on International LGTBQ+ Day sets the stage for ongoing support, understanding, and inclusivity within the LGTBQ+ community.


International LGTBQ+ Day serves as a reminder of the continual need to address mental health disparities and promote well-being among LGTBQ+ individuals. By recognising the interconnectedness of mental health and the LGTBQ+ community, this day reinforces the importance of creating safe spaces, advocating for rights, and fostering a culture of acceptance and support. Through education, awareness campaigns, and community initiatives, International LGTBQ+ Day aims to promote mental health resilience, reduce stigma, and advocate for the well-being of all individuals within the LGTBQ+ community.

Understanding Mental Health Challenges in the LGTBQ+ Community


Discrimination remains a significant factor impacting the mental health of LGTBQ+ individuals, leading to higher rates of depression and anxiety due to societal stigma. Research has shown that LGTBQ+ people are 1.5 times more likely to experience depression and anxiety compared to the general population, highlighting the profound impact of discrimination on their mental well-being. For example, transgender individuals often face discrimination in various aspects of life, including work, housing, and healthcare access, which can exacerbate feelings of isolation and distress [1].


In addition to discrimination, barriers to healthcare access present significant challenges for LGTBQ+ individuals seeking medical support. Fear of discrimination within healthcare settings can lead to avoidance of necessary medical treatment, contributing to unmet health needs and worsened mental health conditions. By addressing these barriers and promoting inclusive practices within healthcare systems, it becomes possible to create a more supportive environment where LGTBQ+ individuals feel safe and empowered to seek the care they require. This underscores the essential role of education, awareness, and advocacy in combating discrimination and promoting mental health equity within the LGTBQ+ community.


The psychological effects of minority stress play a crucial role in understanding the mental health challenges faced by LGTBQ+ individuals. The concealment of sexual orientation, a significant stressor within the minority stress model, can contribute to increased mental health struggles for LGTBQ+ individuals. By recognising the impact of external stressful events, expectations, and internalised negative attitudes, it becomes apparent how societal pressures and discrimination can significantly affect mental well-being. This emphasises the importance of creating supportive environments, fostering open dialogue, and promoting acceptance to mitigate the adverse effects of minority stress on the mental health of LGTBQ+ individuals.

Impact on LGTBQ+ Young People


Young Black LGTB+ individuals face specific mental health disparities, with increased risks of depression and anxiety disorders compared to their peers. The intersectionality of their identities, encompassing race and sexual orientation, can amplify the challenges they experience. For example, studies have shown that young Black lesbians and trans individuals exhibit the highest rates of depression within the LGTB+ community, highlighting the importance of tailored support and interventions for this demographic.


Furthermore, disabled LGTB+ youth navigate distinct mental health obstacles, including heightened levels of anxiety and panic attacks. These challenges can be exacerbated by societal prejudices and the lack of inclusive support systems. For instance, disabled LGTB+ young people eligible for free school meals reported elevated rates of mental health issues, illustrating the complex intersection of socio-economic factors and mental well-being within this demographic. By addressing the specific needs and vulnerabilities of young LGTB+ individuals, it becomes possible to create a more inclusive and supportive environment that nurtures their mental health resilience and well-being.


Inclusive education and support systems play a pivotal role in promoting the mental well-being of LGTB+ young people. By fostering environments that embrace diversity, acceptance, and understanding, schools can help mitigate the impact of discrimination and stigma on mental health outcomes. Initiatives that promote inclusivity and provide resources for LGTB+ youth can offer valuable support in navigating the challenges they face. For example, creating safe spaces, implementing anti-bullying policies, and offering mental health resources tailored to LGTB+ individuals can empower young people to thrive academically, socially, and emotionally. These efforts underscore the importance of community support, education, and advocacy in promoting positive mental health outcomes for LGTB+ young individuals.

Mental Health Statistics in the LGTBQ+ Community


Research indicates that LGTB+ individuals are disproportionately affected by mental health issues, with higher rates of depression and anxiety compared to the general population. Studies have shown that 16- to 24-year-olds have the highest percentage of identifying as lesbian, gay, or bisexual among age groups, highlighting the vulnerability of young LGTB+ individuals to mental health challenges. Additionally, statistics reveal that 55% of trans people in Britain have been diagnosed with depression at some point, underscoring the prevalence of mental health issues within the trans community. These statistics emphasise the urgent need for targeted interventions, support services, and advocacy efforts to address the mental health disparities experienced by LGTB+ individuals. (This blog is the start for my advocacy to support any way I can but there needs to absolutely be more!)


Furthermore, the Minority Stress Model provides a framework for understanding the stress processes that contribute to mental health challenges within LGTBQ+ populations. By distinguishing between distal and proximal stressors, the model illuminates the complex interplay of external events, internalised attitudes, and societal expectations that impact mental well-being. For example, the concealment of sexual orientation as a proximal stressor can lead to heightened levels of anxiety, depression, and psychological distress among LGTBQ+ individuals. Recognising the multifaceted nature of minority stress processes is essential in designing interventions, policies, and support systems that address the root causes of mental health disparities within the LGTBQ+ community.


The experiences of LGTBQ+ individuals in accessing mental health care services further underscore the importance of tailored support and inclusive practices. Barriers such as fear of discrimination, lack of provider awareness, and societal stigma can hinder LGTBQ individuals from seeking the care they need. By addressing these systemic challenges and promoting culturally competent care, it becomes possible to create a more welcoming and affirming healthcare environment for LGTBQ+ individuals. Initiatives that offer resources, support networks, and mental health education specific to the LGTBQ+ community can play a vital role in bridging the gaps in mental health care access and promoting positive well-being outcomes.


International LGTBQ+ Day and Mental Health Awareness


The International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia serves as a powerful platform for raising awareness about mental health struggles within the LGTBQ+ community. By shining a light on the impact of discrimination, stigma, and prejudice on mental well-being, this day advocates for equality, freedom, and justice for all LGTBQ+ individuals. For example, the declassification of homosexuality as a mental disorder by the World Health Organisation in 1990 marked a significant milestone in mental health advocacy, highlighting the progress towards destigmatising LGTBQ+ identities.


The objectives of the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia emphasise the promotion of inclusivity, understanding, and acceptance for LGTBQ+ individuals worldwide. By advocating for positive change and challenging discriminatory practices, this day aims to create a more supportive and affirming environment for LGTBQ+ individuals to thrive. The theme for 2024, focusing on "No one left behind: equality, freedom and justice for all," underscores the commitment to driving meaningful change and advocating for the rights and well-being of all LGTBQ+ individuals. These initiatives and campaigns play a vital role in fostering mental health awareness, promoting social acceptance, and advocating for the rights and dignity of the LGTBQ+ community.

Minority Stress Processes in LG Populations


The Minority Stress Model offers valuable insights into the stress processes that impact mental health outcomes for LG populations. By distinguishing between distal and proximal stressors, the model highlights the interconnected nature of external events, personal experiences, and internalised attitudes that contribute to mental health challenges. For example, distal stressors such as discrimination, violence, and prejudice can have a profound impact on the mental well-being of LG individuals, leading to increased levels of stress and psychological distress. Addressing these systemic challenges requires a comprehensive approach that acknowledges the complex interactions between minority identity, societal pressures, and mental health resilience.


The link between minority identity and stress processes like vigilance, concealment, and internalised stigma sheds light on the unique challenges faced by LGTBQ+ individuals. By recognising the impact of these stressors on mental health outcomes, it becomes evident how societal biases, discrimination, and marginalisation can contribute to adverse mental health consequences. For instance, the concealment of sexual orientation as a coping mechanism can lead to internalised negative attitudes and heightened levels of anxiety, depression, and emotional distress among LGTBQ+ individuals. By understanding the nuances of minority stress processes, it becomes possible to develop targeted interventions, support systems, and advocacy efforts that promote mental well-being and resilience within the LG community.

Supporting LGTBQ+ Mental Health


As i briefly mentioned in the intro of this blog, creating safe and inclusive spaces within schools is essential for supporting the mental well-being of LGTBQ+ pupils. By implementing anti-bullying policies, promoting diversity and acceptance, and offering mental health resources tailored to LGTBQ+ individuals, schools can foster a culture of support and understanding. For example, initiatives like LGTBQ+ inclusive education, gender-neutral facilities, and mental health awareness programmes can create environments where young people feel valued, respected, and supported in their mental health journeys.


In addition to school support, various resources are available to assist LGTBQIA+ individuals in managing their mental health effectively. From online platforms offering tips for self-care and coping strategies to helplines providing immediate support and guidance, these resources play a crucial role in promoting mental well-being within the LGTBQ+ community. By accessing culturally competent care, seeking assistance from mental health professionals, and engaging in peer support networks, LGTBQIA+ individuals can navigate their mental health challenges with resilience and empowerment. These resources offer a lifeline for individuals seeking help, guidance, and connection during times of distress, underscoring the importance of community support and advocacy in promoting positive mental health outcomes.

Mental Health Challenges for LGTBQ+ Individuals in Qatar


The mental health challenges faced by LGTBQ+ individuals in Qatar highlight the urgent need for advocacy, support, and awareness in addressing the unique struggles and persecution experienced by the community. Testimonies shared by individuals like Fatima, Khaled, Noora, and Faisal provide a poignant glimpse into the fear, isolation, and lack of support faced by LGTBQ+ individuals in Qatar. These personal stories underscore the profound impact of societal pressures, lack of resources, and threats of persecution on the mental well-being of individuals within the community.


Furthermore, the discrepancy between the inclusive messaging of the upcoming World Cup and the stark reality of LGTBQ+ persecution in Qatar amplifies the mental health challenges faced by LGTBQ+ individuals. Despite global initiatives promoting mental well-being in sports like football, there remains a noticeable reluctance to address the specific mental health needs of LGTBQ+ individuals in Qatar. The stories of Fatima, Khaled, Noora, and Faisal shed light on the critical importance of advocacy, support, and awareness in addressing the mental health struggles and persecution faced by LGTBQ+ individuals in Qatar, particularly in the lead-up to the World Cup. These narratives underscore the need for inclusive practices, supportive resources, and community solidarity to promote mental health resilience and well-being within the LGTBQ+ community in Qatar.


To conclude, this was one of my longest, but I had a lot to address and probably still could find more to talk about - so call this part 1? 


Either way, whether you are an ally are LGTBQ+ I want you to know you are loved, and The Affordable Therapy Co. will always be here to be a spokesperson, and a place of nurture and support. Happy Friday and as always F**K THE GODDAMN STIGMA!


Founder, The Affordable Therapy Co.

Add comment


There are no comments yet.