Pride Month and Mental Health Awareness, Friday 28 June 2019

Today, June 28, marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, the event that sparked the LGBTQ+ rights movement in the United States, and later inspired Pride events every June.

In honor of this milestone, we want to shed light on mental health issues affecting LGBTQ people.

Unfortunately, a stigma still exists surrounding the LGBTQ community, which leads to increased rates of bullying, harassment and even homelessness among a large percentage of this population.  Studies in 2015 and 2018 showed that the experience of feeling stigmatized leads to:

  • Higher feelings of depression
  • Lower self-esteem
  • More frequent feelings of anxiety

Depression is particularly prevalent among the trans community.  It is alarming that:

  • Nearly half (48%) of all transgender adults report they have considered suicide in the past 12 months, compared to 4% of the overall US population.
  • 40% of transgender adults have attempted suicide at least once in their lives, with 92% of these individuals attempting suicide before the age of 25.

Raising awareness about the ways transgender individuals can experience stigma – even in casual conversation — is important.  Trans people have a gender identity or gender expression that differs from their assigned sex at birth.  Making a concerted effort to use the correct gender pronoun in conversation is not only respectful, but also helps trans people feel less stigmatized, and thus maybe a bit less likely to develop depression or anxiety.

If you know any LGBTQ+ that are struggling this pride month, or anytime, take the time to speak to them, or help connect them to the resources listed below:

Or, in emergencies concerning suicidal ideation

  • The National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255

With your help we can help reduce stigma around LGBTQ identity.  HDRF’s work to advance the understanding and treatment of depression will go a long way to ensure the safety of the many proud and courageous LGBTQ members of our society.

Sources:

https://www.thetrevorproject.org/resources/preventing-suicide/facts-about-suicide/

https://www.nami.org/Find-Support/LGBTQ

McLemore, K. A. (2015). Experiences with misgendering: Identity misclassification of transgender spectrum individuals. Self and Identity, 14(1), 51-74. doi:http://dx.doi.org.pitt.idm.oclc.org/10.1080/15298868.2014.950691

 

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