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.