LGBT Mental State of Well-being

May 27, 2017

Mental health is  known as a state of well being and it is the way a person can cope with difficulties and stress they face in daily life. Mental health is a huge for problem for a lot of people and a person either has good or bad mental health.  Mental health and mental illness are not the same thing, even though they  are commonly  described together. If a person has bad mental health,  they are more likely to deal with some sort of mental illness.  It is a fact that mental illness and poor mental health  can affect  LGBT individuals, causing them to be at risk to have major depression  or an anxiety disorder three times more than  the average  person.  Because of discrimination and homophobia, coming  out,  gender views, confusion about who they are as a person and a lot more issues, having a vast amount of fears and worries takes a great toll  on  someone's mental health. 

One of the main thoughts I want people to remember on this subject, is not specifically about mental health or even LGBT, but that everyone is human.  Everyone is human, and that these terrible things are happening to people who are human,  people who have  a body, a face, a soul, opinions  and emotions.  People who are exactly the same as you, who are only separated  by who they love and who they want to be, with people completing ignoring the fact that love is love and everyone is created equal and they are just the same as you and  I.  Just please, when reading through this website,  keep in mind that the people suffering through these hardships are  human,  and if you know someone dealing with mental health who is LGBT,  remind them that  they are not alone and  that they can end up okay.  You might end up saving a life.  This website was  created with the sole purpose of informing others about how  LGBT mental health is a big deal.  I am glad to voice that with personal beliefs, that  I accomplished  this goal in bringing awareness to LGBT mental health and creating an organized website with valid facts, and maybe even in the process,  changing someone's  life with realizing how much  harm they put  LGBT individuals  through with negative actions.  To conclude, it is not possible to cut out all LGBT mental health problems, but it is possible  to make a difference by giving support and having some sort of understanding  with this situation.   Thank you for spending your time to inform yourself on this subject, and I hope it will benefit you in some way or form.

Until late in the 20th century, being part of the LGBT community was described as  unnatural and was considered as a crime against nature and even today it is still punishable by death in some parts of the world.  Being gay was identified as a disease, and affected how people of different  sexual and gender orientations  were viewed culturally. European  psychiatrists  Sigmund Freud and Havelock Ellis were both the first to believe  that people could not help being homosexual and that they were born it. They both were also strong believers that being gay could be cured by therapy  and other methods. Freud's ideas on this topic is that every human was born bi-sexual ( Sexual attraction to both girls and boys), and that based on their experience  with others and how they were raised, it  will affect their decision  to be heterosexual?  or homosexual. These ideas started bringing more open mindedness to the LGBT community. In 1974, homosexuality was removed from the  American Psychiatric Association as a mental disorder. Other  organizations followed by  declassifying being gay as  a mental  illness

The term minority stress is often used  to explain  the main factoring reasons on why  LGBT people deal with  mental health.  Things such  as  social disapproval,  prejudice,  abuse,  unfair  treatment,  civil and human rights being denied,  discrimination,  social exclusion and family rejection are some of the issues that makes up minority stress.  People who are questioning  their sexuality and  gender  and are  wary about coming out have high  rates of  mental health,  and  people in the LGBT community who deal  with  prejudice   and  discrimination  have less of a positive mental well-being. A good majority of People  who are LGBT deals with some sort of homophobia (Dislike  and hostile behavior  to people who are LGBT).  Homophobia can be expressed  obviously,  by physical violence, verbal aggression, and  harassment.   Homophobia can  also be expressed non obviously,  which is harder to  identify as violence and  discrimination.  Being denied a job,  not feeling comfortable in certain public  environment and being forced to listen to negative stereotypes  or  derogatory   terms being used even if they are not  directed  at  an LGBT personally are all examples of non  obvious homophobia. 

People have been known to  use alcohol as a way to  deal with problems by drowning out their  hardships and to forget  troubles.   What LGBT people deal with daily,  drowning out their troubles with alcohol and other substances seems like a reasonable  response.  According  to  SAMHSA  ( Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), studies  indicate  that  the  rate of substance abuse disorders in people that are LGBT are around 20 to 30% when the general  population is around  9%.  Also,  25% percent of people in the LGBT community abuse alcohol compared to the 5 to 10% of the general population.   LGBT people also smoke up to 200%  more tobacco than their heterosexual peers and are  3.5 times  more likely to use marijuana.  Three of the main factors that lead to  alcohol and substance abuse are  high levels of stress from social prejudice  and discrimination laws in everyday life,  high and targeted  marketing  from  tobacco and alcohol companies  for LGBT people and  health care systems that  discourage people who are LGBT for seeking out  treatment for substance abuse.

Mental health is a huge problem  for people in the LGBT community of all ages,  but most of the more serious mental health problems start when that person is a child. Non-accepting families  and schools,  bullying and discrimination, depression and being in a negative  mindset is some of the biggest problems  LGBT  youth deal with.  Read  below to discover more  about these problems LGBT youth face.

Education is important. Getting a good education will  aide you in being successful  in life.  Most LGBT  youth do not receive the best education they can achieve based on things like the harassment they face in school that distracts them from learning.  It has been reported that LGBT youth who  have been bullied in school have a lower grade point average than  youth who do not face harassment.  Most  LGBT  youth have  recognized  bullying as the second most important problem they are facing in daily life, right behind  non accepting families.  Most schools are encouraged  to start clubs like a  Gay  Straight Alliances (GSA). GSA is a school organization  that gives a safe space and provides support for LGBT students. Schools are also encouraged to have supportive educators to  help LGBT youth feel like they are in a safe and comfortable environment and are also encouraged to have  more powerful bullying and harassment policies.

Suicide is a problem for everyone, but it affects LGBT youth and adults more than their heterosexual peers.  Suicide is  the  2nd leading cause of death for  people in between the age of  10  to 24 and  LGBT youth have 4 times the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior then someone who identifies as  straight.  The likelihood  of  self harming behavior increases 2.5 times the average  with every verbal or physical abuse someone who is LGBT faces.  LGBT youth who come from not accepting or violent families are   8.4 times more likely to try and commit suicide then one of their LGBT peers who come from an accepting family.  Suicide  is terrible to everyone, with around  one death from suicide every  40 seconds.  Around  500,000 LGBT youth  attempt  suicide each  year, and make up 5,000 of the million deaths from suicide each year.

People who are transgender deal  with challenging  mental health, such as gender  dysphoria. Gender  dysphoria can also be known as  gender identity  disorder (GID),  and it is defined  as the distress a  person faces  as a  result of the gender and sex  they were  born. Growing up with GID can take a huge toll on someone's well-being based on the fact that girls and boys are expected to act a certain way. If someone does not feel   like a girl/boy on the inside, knowing these gender stereotypes  can make them feel worthless and have loads of questions of what gender they are, our if they are gender-fluid and more.    In  early childhood,  being expected  to like a certain  toy  or activity that a more gender biased  makes a  child who has GID  feel like they have to hide  that part of themselves.   When starting  puberty,  people with GID start feeling disgusted  by their body and how it is betraying them.   By early adult years, most people who are transgender begin  looking into transitioning,  if they have not already done so, but  obligations and family matters and  lack of information and services might stop them from becoming who they really want to be.  Throughout  their lives, people who  are transgender  can deal with  secrets and isolation which can lead to anxiety  and depression. According to a  national study,   40% of  transgender adults have reported  of trying to commit suicide, and 92% have said that their attempt  was before they were 25 years old.

Created  in 1998, The Trevor Project was founded by the producers of the short film, Trevor.  This non-profit organization focuses on suicide prevention in LGBT youth. One of their most known methods of suicide prevention is the Trevor lifeline, a toll free telephone number which is available 24 hours a day. The Trevor lifeline offers trained counselors who listen and give hope to the callers. This is the only nationwide suicide prevention helpline for LGBT youth in America. Other help sites that Trevor provides is AskTrevor, TrevorChat, and TrevorSpace.

The Trevor Project offers many other special opportunities to help support their campaign. One of their most know public events is TrevorLIVE. On December 3rd, 2016, The Trevor Project held one of their two annual fundraisers in Los Angeles, California. Their next event takes place on June 19th, 2017 in New York City. This event celebrates the impact and awareness that The Trevor Project has on suicide prevention and crisis intervention. In 2016, TrevorLIVE LA and NYC had over 2,000 people attended, raising over 1.8 million dollars for the project. Some celebrities  that have attended TrevorLive in the past include many well known names such as Ellen DeGeneres, Neil Patrick Harris, Chris Colfer, Daniel Radcliffe, Shay Mitchell, Tyler Oakley, Darren Criss and Kim Kardashian.

In 2010,  the It Gets Better Project was founded by gay activist and author, Dan Savage and his husband, Terry Miller. This non profit organization formed after both of these men uploaded a video onto YouTube as a way to give hope to bullied LGBT teenagers. But even YouTube couldn't hold all of inspiration this movement was bringing: Over 200 videos were uploaded in the first week. In the next week, the Project's channel hit YouTube's 650 video limit. The It Gets Better project now runs off their website, where there has  over 50,000 entries from all different kinds of people who want to support the LGBT community.

This organization has has had  many celebrities  join in to help spread the hope the It Gets Better Project offers. On October 21, 2010, Former President Barack Obama contributed to the project by posting a video about the cause. He spoke these words of wisdom:  "We've got to dispel this myth that bullying is just a normal rite of passage; that it's just some inevitable part of growing up. It's not. We have an obligation to ensure that our schools are safe for all of our kids. And for every young person out there you need to know that if you're in trouble, there are caring adults who can help."

From a (somewhat) outside perspective looking in,  seeing why LGBT  people  deal with troubling    mental health is not that big of a surprise.  People, frankly, have a lot more homophobia than what should be tolerated. In any situation  with any  occurrence, there are going to be people who oppose something. That is a fact. It is expected that people are going to have disagreeing  opinions.  If there was not homophobia in the slightest,  it would not be  realistic.  But there is homophobia, and there is  a  lot more of it then there should be.

Homophobia can be defined as a fear or prejudice   of someone who is homosexual.  But, in all honesty,  what is there to be afraid of?  Should you really be so scared of someone who is acting out on the way they were born,  like every  other person is?   Too many people  do not  understanding  how much damage they are doing  to the LGBT  community   who are already going through so much on top of  violence they get for being who they are.  Most people  do not even realize  they are being homophobic when they make comments  such as, " that's so gay" and  ect. Most people do not realize how offensive that term is, or how  that even if they are not saying things directly to a person, that there a still being homophobic.  It would not be very  difficult to cut phrases such as " that's so gay"  out of their  ?lexicon, and to think before they speak. Hearing the term, " that's so gay," can negatively  affect  LGBT.  It can make them feel greatly isolated or sick, giving them headaches  or poor appetite.

With  how much homophobia, intentional or not,  LGBT  people experience terrible mental health  from it.  It would not be possible to cut away  100% of the problems  people encounter in the LGBT community with bad mental health,  but it is possible to get rid of most of the homophobia they face  in daily life.  Fixing the  problem can start with anyone.  If you see homophobia around  you,  instead of  ignoring it or encouraging it in some cases,  call it out. Call it out, saying that what you see is not the right thing to do, and  instead of hurting someone, give them the support that they may need. Call it out, and tell someone else who can force it to stop if you can not make it stop by your self. Call  it out, and remind the homophobic people that they are hurting a person, that they are hurting a person who is entirely  the same as you by saying terrible things about something that they can not control.  Make a difference in someone's life that is as simple as telling someone to stop using such intolerant language and actions. Telling someone to simply stop can  be the difference between life or death of someone who  is LGBT and dealing with negative mental health. Making a difference  in approving someone's mental health and even saving a life can start by one  simple  task: cutting down the amounts of homophobia and transphobia  and any violence seen in the world. ??Helping make people and children in the LGBT community deal with better mental health and causing all the terribly high rates to go down can start by one simple action: giving them a world they want to live in and be a part of.

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