June marks the celebration of Pride Month, and it is a time meant to celebrate and recognize the equal rights and opportunities of LGBTQ individuals. It serves to negate any stigma or discrimination against the LGBTQ community and instead brings forth feelings of pride and acceptance.
Though a time for celebration, Pride Month also brings attention to the disparities that exist among the LGBTQ community, including the increased rate of mental health conditions and substance abuse among the community’s members.
Mental Health Inequality in the LGBTQ Community
LGBTQ individuals are three times more likely than individuals who identify as straight to experience a mental health condition. At any age, an LGBTQ person feels the effects of these mental health inequalities, with LGBTQ youth attempting suicide, experiencing suicidal thoughts, and practicing self-harm at a rate four times as high as youths identifying as straight. Many of these LGBTQ individuals face discrimination, making the route to securing quality treatment more difficult for these individuals, so mood disorders often go untreated within their community.
Additionally, finding providers who can understand their experiences proves difficult, making individuals less likely to seek help in times of need.
Doing Your Part as an Ally and Supporting LGBTQ Mental Health
As an LGBTQ ally, you have the chance to positively impact the mental health and well-being of your LGBTQ loved ones with your support. Below is a list of ways you can support your LGBTQ loved ones this Pride Month and afterward.
- Better educate yourself. To be a more understanding ally, work on yourself first and eliminate any implicit biases you may harbor. Question the beliefs you have around love, sex, gender, or relationships, and seek answers to any questions that arise. Learn about the problems that affect the LGBTQ community and what resources are out there to help.
- Accept their chosen identity. Be sincere in accepting the identity that your LGBTQ loved one has chosen and how they want to live their life. Use their preferred pronouns, don’t question the gender of their partners, accept how they dress and their appearance, and don’t place any expectations on them to conform to society’s norms of expression and love.
- Keep an open channel of dialogue. Speak openly to your LGBTQ loved ones and ensure that you support them and their needs. Let them know that they can talk to you about anything bothering them if they feel comfortable talking to you about it. Reach out if they seem to be struggling.
- Know what mental health resources are available. You can be a resource for connecting your LGBTQ loved ones with what mental health resources they might need. Help them find an LGBTQ-friendly therapist, find support groups or organizations they can be a part of, or have the LGBTQ mental health hotline number ready for them when they need it.
The LGBTQ community faces higher rates of mental health conditions than do people identifying as straight. Doing your part as an ally and providing your love, support, and knowledge of mental health resources can help your LGBTQ loved ones defy the odds. Avalon Malibu is one of the only residential treatment centers in California that treats both mental health disorders and substance use addiction. Our team of professionals is devoted to individualizing treatment plans for clients that address every facet of their needs. Living a life free of fear and hurt doesn’t have to be a dream any longer. Call us today at (844) 857-5992 and hear how you can make it a reality.