Family and friends can play a valuable role in supporting the mental health and well-being of LGBTQ+ individuals. LGBTQ+ individuals are more likely than others to experience mental health challenges.
Many years of research have identified health and mental health disparities among LGBTQ+ individuals, showing they experience higher rates of mental health problems compared to the heterosexual, cisgender population. A recent APA national poll found that LGBTQ+ adults are more likely than adults overall to be anxious about a number of current issues, including gun violence, climate change and the future of reproductive rights. They are twice as likely (62% vs 31%) to be anxious about the future of LGBTQ+ rights.
- By Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A., FRCP-E, FRCPsych
At the 1972 APA Annual Meeting, in Dallas, Texas, a psychiatrist identified only as “Dr. H. Anonymous,” who had been stigmatized and lost his job because of his sexual orientation, offered a masked protest during a session devoted to psychiatry’s relationship with homosexuality. Joined on the panel (chaired by Judd Marmor, M.D.) by the organizer/activists Barbara Gittings and Frank Kameny, the psychiatrist was later revealed to be Dr. John Fryer. This event that was a watershed moment both for psychiatry and the LGBTQ community, and eventually led to the removal of homosexuality from the DSM in 1973.
More than four in 10 LGBTQ youth seriously considered suicide in the past year, according to The Trevor Project’s third annual survey out last May. Meanwhile, nearly half (46%) of LGBTQ youth reported wanting psychological or emotional counseling from a mental health professional but were unable to receive it in.
Most people are familiar with the term LGBT—lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. The acronym increasingly includes the letter Q, LGBTQ, referring to queer and/or questioning individuals. The terms queer and questioning are important because they encompass a larger number of individuals who identify as having same-sex attraction and behaviors.