We would like to introduce our latest feature, which will be based on the LGBTQ+ community. This is a monthly feature that will focus on all aspects of identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or questioning, as well as other ways of defining our gender/sexuality. We aim to cover a variety of topics; some relating to mental health, positive and negative experiences, the reality of today’s society in accepting the LGBTQ+ community, day-to-day life, and many more. As always, we invite anyone who has a passion for writing, or who wants their voice heard, to contact us about writing an article for Student Life. I believe it is important to talk about the things that society can sometimes find uncomfortable. Hiding away encourages this behaviour, and I personally think that we are all different and there is no right or wrong. I say: “be who you truly are, be yourself, embrace yourself, and don’t let anyone get you down” – how boring would it be if we were all the same, eh? Please see our first LGBTQ+ articles which focus on the relationship between mental health and identifying within the LGBTQ+ community. If anyone has any questions regarding this topic, please feel free to contact me at [email protected]
LGBTQ+ and Mental Health
Written BY LEANNE ARNOLD
Unfortunately, it is apparent that mental health problems are more prevalent within the LGBTQ+ community in comparison to the wider population. It is common for people within the LGBTQ+ community to suffer from depression, anxiety, and experience suicidal thoughts and feelings. It has been recognised that mental health problems experienced by people within the LGBTQ+ community have been linked to bullying, discrimination, and homophobia. Other things to think about are the experiences that people may have within their family settings. Some people experience rejection within their families, communities, religions, and employers. All of this can have a dramatic impact on a person’s mental health and self-esteem.
Stats say that one in five lesbian, gay and bisexual students have attempted to take their own life, and more than two in five trans students have also attempted this. This could be linked to the fact that around 45% of LGBT pupils are bullied for being LGBT in Britain’s schools.
So what can we do? Talk about it, educate ourselves around it, try to be less judgemental, think before you act, and remember that what other people are doing is not always your business. I believe that if people were more accepting and less judgemental, bullying would decrease; the acceptance would rise, therefore lessening the impact it can have upon a person’s mental health.
As always; you are here for yourself and you are here as yourself, therefore be yourself!
For many people, discovering that they are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or queer+ can negatively impact their mental health, especially with how they view themselves. It can make someone feel very self-conscious – I know I did for a while. It was the reason behind me feeling down and blue for some months. However, fortunately, it is much more accepted now, if you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community; which can reassure people when they start to come out to family and friends. I started to realise I was bisexual around 13, which seems like such a long time ago now! At first, I felt very anxious about it and I became quite down, mainly because I was so worried about my friends and family’s reactions when I would eventually tell them. Being 13, I was in year 9 at the time, which can be quite an immature year for dealing with things like this. But, when I slowly started to tell my friends, they reacted in the best way possible and I feel very lucky for that. They were so supportive of me!! I have also seen the same from second hand experience. But prior to this, I did get quite upset a lot, I think it was because I wanted to be ‘normal’, but ‘normal’, of course, doesn’t exist! I could slowly feel myself losing confidence in myself. But 5 years on, I have learnt to embrace myself and express who I am the way I want to. When it eventually came to telling my parents, they were also very supportive and I would reassure that if you are worried about telling your parents, that you do try because when I did a massive weight was taken off my shoulders, although it is a hard thing to do. But, if you believe you would come to any harm by doing so, protecting yourself is number one priority.