The LGBTQA Community continues to flourish with pride. Their mental health is considered to be affected by multiple different factors like bullying, discrimination, inequality, lack of acceptance, and likewise which may lead to distress and severe discomfort. Minority stress is real and needs to be addressed sooner than later.
The LGBTQA community has been recognized as a minority and as we know, minority communities often experience high levels of stigma and discrimination. What we fail to understand is how this unfortunate and unfair treatment can affect their mental and physical health. Although people may be becoming more sensitive and aware now, this doesn’t discount the negative comments, attitudes, behavior expressed towards the LGBTQA community.
According to American Psychological Association, Mental health of the LGBTQA community members is considered to be fragile as compared to heterosexual human beings. Teens and young adults in this community seem to have higher rates of suicide and depression along with mood disorders, stress, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. Bullying is also one of the common concerns faced by them. These experiences may also hinder one’s perception of self and causes feelings of guilt, shame, self-doubt, low self-esteem, isolation and likewise. According to psychologists, “the process of coping with prejudice and discrimination by the LGBTQAA community is called minority stress”
Coping with minority stress
- Express yourself – Holding back your emotions may only cause more discomfort. Try to tfind ways to express them. Poetry, music, dancing, singing, talking to a friend, crying, art, physical activity, yoga, or anything that helps you express yourself in a healthy manner.
- Positive Self-talk – Often you might be in a negative situation with a lot of negative opinions. It’s important to pause and think about what you’re telling yourself. Negative self-talk needs to be challenged and replaced with positive and realistic thoughts which will help you cope with your negative emotions and achieve goals.
- Seek Professional Help – Talking to a mental health counsellor can help you work on self-confidence, developing better coping strategies, seek validation, and begin to build a healthy support system.
- Affirmations – Reminding yourself positive statements during a difficult situation is key to feeling better and more confident about yourself and your surroundings. “I am worthy of love and acceptance”. “I am capable of loving another person fully” and likewise.
- Read and Listen – Like you, others may also be experiencing similar emotions or thoughts. Encourage yourself to read more about these experiences and listen to talks given by people from the LGBTQA community. This will empower you to believe in yourself and your community.
- Don’t Isolate – Isolation can become an unhealthy trap. Try to stay involved and connected to people who help you feel positive and safe. Proactively indulge in activities, support groups, seminars, conferences, and likewise to enhance your knowledge of your community as well as the evolving views of others.
The LGBTQA community continues to grow with pride and so does sensitivity in others. Being hopeful and positive about a changing and a more inclusive world is important. Mental health is equally as important as physical health and for everybody and anybody. Let’s try to be more inclusive and aware and less prejudiced and close minded. We’re all human beings of the same evolutionary process