In the past ten years, there have been constant trials and challenges that the LGBT community has faced on equal rights. Bullying, abuse, and discrimination primarily because of the existing stigma have led the community to be highly vulnerable to various kinds of mental, behavioral, and emotional problems. If they seek the help of mental health professional, they should choose the right therapist who can capably deal with and have experience in reaching out to the gays, lesbians, and transgenders who in reality are unique in their own ways. They, too, are entitled to personalize and efficient mental health services.
“Loneliness is an epidemic, We’re the most socially connected society, yet so many people experience extreme loneliness.” psychologist Amy Sullivan, PsyD. said. With that, one mental health condition that is prevalent among the LGBT community is depression, with anxiety just a close second.
It is generally normal for teens and adolescents to explore and learn the love for freedom. However, LGBT teens are mostly stressed in an environment that is not so accepting of them, especially in the home and at school. An article from the Mental Health in Family Medicine stated that teen gays and lesbians are among the most common victims of bullying and physical abuse and usually suffer from extreme stress, depression, and anxiety. Linda A. Travis, PsyD once said, “I can’t overstress the potential fears that people have about discrimination,” she says. As a result, she says, “LGBT older adults can be reluctant to see health-care providers until their problems become so bad they can no longer avoid doing so.”
Despite the cultural and social developments in first world countries, adults in the LGBT community continue to be bombarded with many challenges and difficulties. The Journal of Women’s Health states that the higher likelihood of depression among LGBT adults is largely due to the discrimination and lack of support from society. A study done by The Gerontologists focused on the healthcare provisions that the LGBT adults are in crucial need of. It is a sad truth that this group has very little access to proper care and therapy.
Understanding Sexual Identity
Sexual identity is such an extensive topic that involves our points of view and our personal opinions when it comes to sexual and romantic relationships. There are misunderstandings and even violent reactions when discussing this topic.
One must remember that sexual identity is different from gender identity, as sexual identity refers to sexual or romantic attraction towards other people and gender identity is an individual’s personal view of self – of whether he is male, female, gay, lesbian, or both. It can be different or the same as the gender assigned to them at birth.
The Stigma Around LGBT
The LGBT community is among the most prevalent groups that are victims of stigma by other people and even by their own families, friends, and coworkers. A major reason for this is that the general population still lacks knowledge, comprehension, and empathy. Also, others somehow practice a strict belief for them to reject people who do not belong to the normal male and female categories.
Bullying also makes up a large percentage of the pie on the major matters that cause LGBT anxiety and depression. “There is no remorse or “just kidding.” The final hallmark of bullying behavior is the intent and knowledge that they can, and likely will, do it again and can purposely keep people on guard.” Paul Schwartzman, LMHC, MS, DAPA explains. It seems that prejudiced students, parents, and other individuals still haven’t gotten tired of criticizing those who are different from the rest, despite their skills and what good they can offer to the community. Teachers and other educators should act upon this immediately if this is present in their classrooms or school surroundings. They must help prevent this violent act from happening and educate their students about the concept of equality and discrimination.
The Need For Therapy
Aside from the issues mentioned above, LGBT individuals also experience other equally devastating problems, such as PTSD, social discrimination, and suicide. This puts them at a tremendously higher likelihood of developing mental health illnesses and suffering from low quality and access to therapy and other types of mental health care. However, as more and more studies reveal the importance of these services for the LGBT community, a lot of programs are now established to allow the community to access the services of therapists, psychologists, counselors, and even social workers.
Since depression is on top of the list of the most commonly seen mental illnesses in LGBT individuals, the need for professional help has been recognized and eventually appropriately provided.
The Right Therapist
If you are gay, lesbian, transgender, or someone who had chosen to be different from the gender assigned to him when he was born, do not be ashamed to seek therapy. And for you to get the full benefits of mental health therapy, find someone well-acquainted with the problems that you and your community have been facing. He should also be capable of understanding your sentiments and what has caused you to be anxious and depressed. Finally, the therapist must have an open mind and an empathic heart that can reach out and help you break the barriers that have been keeping you from growing into the best you can ever be.