Many people of all ages question their identity and sexuality. According to SAMHSA (2023), 5.8 million LGBTQ+ identifying Americans reported having a mental illness in the past year. LGBTQ mental health refers to the mental well-being of individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or questioning, as well as those who may identify with other diverse sexual orientations and gender identities.
Identifying as LGBTQ+ is not a mental health concern. Many individuals in the community may seek mental health services due to social pressures such as:
- Discrimination: LGBTQ+ individuals may experience stigma and discrimination, both overt and subtle, which can contribute to feelings of isolation, shame, and stress.
- Acceptance: Coming to terms with one’s sexual orientation or gender identity, and facing societal or familial pressures, can be a significant source of stress for LGBTQ+ individuals.
- Bullying and Harassment: LGBTQ+ individuals, especially youth, may be at a higher risk of bullying and harassment, which can lead to anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.
- Family and Social Support: Support from family, friends, and the broader community can have a positive impact on mental health. However, not everyone receives this support, and lack of acceptance from loved ones can contribute to mental health challenges.
How do I find LGBTQ+ Therapy?
Mental health professionals who are knowledgeable about LGBTQ+ issues can be beneficial for therapy. Providers can be found based on their client focus, specialization areas, and treatments. Psychology Today allows users to filter therapists by multiple categories such as location and accepted insurance.
Most providers offer a free 10 minute phone consultation to see if it is a good fit. It is important to ask questions about specific issues during this time and their experience with the LGBTQ+ community.
Resources for LGBTQ+ Mental Health
- List of Hotlines
- Online Safety for Young People
- Exploring and Affirming Gender
- Transgender FAQ by GLAAD