From MHA's President & CEO, Schroeder Stribling
June is Pride month - a time to honor the LGBTQ+ community, to lift their voices, celebrate their cultures, and recognize the progress and remaining work in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights. Inspired by the 1969 Stonewall Uprising, a tipping point in the LGBTQ+ rights movement in the United States, Pride is part celebration and part political activism. While a lot has changed in the 53 years since the Stonewall Uprising, the LGBTQ+ community still faces discrimination interpersonally and systemically.
Inequity harms mental health. While being LGBTQ+ is NOT a mental health condition or concern, LGBTQ+ individuals experience mental health struggles at higher rates than their straight and cisgender peers. Mental health challenges among the LGBTQ+ community are primarily due to individuals facing stigma, discrimination, and bias in many forms.
LGBTQ+ individuals can be incredibly resilient and thrive in the face of adversity with the help of supportive families, peers, and communities. But the ultimate protective factor in LGBTQ+ mental health is removing these adversities altogether, which we can work to achieve through creating informed and affirming environments. MHA thanks Janssen: Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson and Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc. for supporting our public education efforts.
How is Pride Relevant to Mental Health in 2022?
With an increasing amount of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation being proposed and enacted across the United States, 2022 has been a particularly difficult year for many LGBTQ+ people whose identities are being politicized. Not only does each discriminatory bill harm the LGBTQ+ individuals that it directly impacts, it also sends a broader message that LGBTQ+ people don’t have the right to exist or thrive in the ways that non-LGBTQ+ folks do.
- LGBTQ+ people are twice as likely as non-LGBTQ+ people to have a mental health condition and continue to show disparities in mental health, even though they are more likely to use mental health services.
- People who identify as LGBTQ+ have more frequent suicidal thoughts, and rates are continuing to rise. Fifty-six percent of LGBTQ+ individuals who took an MHA depression screen in 2021 reported having suicidal thoughts more than half or nearly every day of the previous two weeks - nearly 7% higher than the reported rate in 2019. (MHA Screening)
- The Trevor Project reports that 73% percent of LGBTQ+ youth report experiencing symptoms of anxiety, 58% report symptoms of depression, and 45% report having seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year.
- According to the U.S. Transgender Survey, 40% of transgender adults have attempted suicide during their lifetime, compared to less than 5% of the general U.S. population.
Or share the following messages:
- LGBTQ+ mental health matters. That's why Mental Health America is sharing new resources and articles for LGBTQ+ #PrideMonth. mhanational.org/pride
- #PrideMonth is a time to recognize the progress and remaining work in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights, including access to affirming health - and mental health - care. Find resources, articles, and more: mhanational.org/pride
- 2022 has been a particularly challenging year for the LGBTQ+ community, whose rights are being challenged and identities politicized. Visit mhanational.org/pride for LGBTQ+ mental health resources.
- Asexual youth have higher rates of depression and anxiety compared to the overall LGBTQ+ youth population, but little research has focused on this group. Learn more about asexuality and mental health here: mhanational.org/lgbtq/asexual-community-mental-health
- People identifying as bisexual make up the largest identity group within the LGBTQ+ community. Learn more about the intersection between bisexuality and mental health: mhanational.org/lgbtq/bisexual-mental-health
- Realizing you’re LGBTQ+ as an adult comes with some unique challenges – like coming out to your straight spouse. Learn about how to protect your mental health while navigating this change: mhanational.org/lgbtq/telling-your-straight-spouse
- After a lifetime of seeming to be straight, some LGBTQ+ folks experience imposter syndrome when coming out in adulthood. Find tips on affirming your identity for better mental health here: mhanational.org/lgbtq/combatting-imposter-syndrome
- Being LGBTQ+ is NOT a mental illness, but LGBTQ+ folks face unique mental health challenges due to stigma and discrimination. Learn more about LGBTQ+ mental health here: mhanational.org/lgbtq
- Coming out is a courageous step towards living an authentic life. It can also be scary and even traumatic for some folks. Check out Mental Health America’s resources on LGBTQ+ mental health: mhanational.org/lgbtq
- Research shows that LGBTQ+ folks face unique barriers to mental health care. That’s why early intervention is so critical. Take a free, confidential mental health screening at mhascreening.org
- Mental health conditions affect people of every gender identity and sexual orientation. Taking a mental health test is one of the easiest ways to check in on your mental health. Get screened at mhascreening.org #PrideMonth