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Pride Month: A Look Into LGBTQI+ Mental Health

The Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex+ (LGBTQI+) community houses a very broad range of identities, gender expressions, and sexual orientations. On top of that, members of the community are equally as diverse in race, religion, ethnicity, subeconomic class, and nationalities. The meeting point for all these people, being housed within the LGBTQI+ community, provides an enormous diversity in thought, perspective, experience and understanding. This level of complexity is extremely important and is a valuable and unique aspect of the LGBTQI+ community that often results in a strong sense of resilience, and of course, pride.

Belonging to the LGBTQI+ community can bring a sense of home, of community - strength provided by those around you who, while being incredibly individual and unique, can relate to the common struggles and problems that most of the community faces. However, there are often problems that arise as well, and knowing how to recognize the ways that your gender identity and sexual orientation relates to your mental health is more important than ever.

Often times, the community isn't included specifically in scientific studies revolving around mental health, but recent research has started revealing that members of the LGBTQI+ community are at a significantly higher risk for experiencing mental health conditions - particularly anxiety and depression. LGB (Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual) adults are more than 2x as likely as heterosexual adults to experience a mental health condition. Transgender individuals are 4x likely than their cisgender counterparts to experience mental health conditions.

LGB youth are also at a higher risk for mental health conditions, and thoughts/actions revolving around suicide. LBG youths are twice as likely to report feelings of hopelessness, sadness, and feeling lost than their hetero peers. Transgender youths, facing even worse disparities, are twice as likely as their LGB peers to feel this way.

For both adults and youths in the community, it is not really surprising that it's more common to be at higher risk for mental health issues. Particularly when it comes to depression and anxiety, or suicidal thoughts and actions! Facing violence, discrimination, police retaliation, prejudice, denial of civil and human rights, harassment and family rejection (which can lead to worsened mental health symptoms and behaviors), a lot of the community is put in a place where your mental health has to stay on high alert to stay safe. Society commonly singles out the community - whether it's overtly positive, which therefore feels negative, or in a disapproving, violent, vicious way - the feelings of aloneness within a community can be extremely damaging.