Author’s note, please read before reading article: Please note that this article raises themes that some might find triggering or upsetting as it mentions themes of mental health, bullying, and suicide with specific reference to its impact on those who identify as LGBT+.
If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health then please seek support from a trained professional.
In this article, I hope to provide some advice as to how we (as allies of and/or members of the LGBT+ community), can ensure that we are looking out for one another’s mental health.
Reaching out about your mental health can be difficult. It can be uncomfortable, especially if you’ve never discussed your thoughts and feelings before. But whether your mental health is connected to your sexuality or not, your mental health is always completely valid either way, so please always seek support if you are struggling, or know someone else who is.
As mentioned above, discussing your thoughts and feelings is never easy, and for those who identify as LGBT+, this can be even more of a challenge. In their article, Supporting our LGBT+ Communities, NHS Mid Essex state that, “1 in 4 LGBT people are not out to healthcare professionals”. NHS UK also report that, “Mental health problems […] may be linked to LGBT people’s experience of discrimination, homophobia, transphobia, bullying, social isolation, or rejection because of their sexuality”.
Whether it’s you who is struggling with your mental health and seeking support, or are supporting someone else who is struggling, then it’s really important to take the above factors into consideration. However, there are two additional things to take into account, especially if you are supporting someone who is struggling with their mental health.
Let’s say that you’re a friend who is listening to another friend who is discussing their mental health with you. First, you should be mindful that your friend might not be publicly open about their sexuality. So, please be mindful about this, especially if you’re having this conversation in a public space. Second, always respect and use preferred pronouns. Always clarify which pronouns someone prefers to use as it can sometimes depend on certain situations and spaces.
If you’re struggling with your mental health and you’re LGBT+, then you can find support here (Source: www.nhs.uk):
- CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy/Talking therapy)
- Booking an appointment with a GP
- LGBT+ charities (see end of article)
You can also find support by:
- Discussing your thoughts and feelings with friends, family, a partner
- Reaching out to one of the Mental Health Ambassadors at ‘Student Life’ (you can email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Seeking support from a counsellor or pastoral support at school or university
Additional support networks:
- Outreach Youth (Suffolk)
- The NHS
If you’re struggling with your mental health then please seek support. Your thoughts and feelings are completely valid. Be proud of who you are and never, ever hide away from that.