Tag Archives: LGBTQ Mental Health

We Are Three Times More Likely To Experience A Mental Health Issues, Than Straight People

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, LGBTQ youth are at an increased risk for suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts, and suicide and are often bullied more than their peers.

Alyssa Norris recently explained Yahoo Health

If they’re an adolescent subject to daily bullying who is rejected by their parents, we would expect that these rates would be higher.”

That can make a lasting impression on a person’s psyche, licensed clinical psychologist Alicia H. Clark, who specialises in the treatment of anxiety, added.

It isn’t easy to be different, and the chronic challenges of a non-heterosexual lifestyle can make everything seem harder, leading ultimately to mental health issues.”

The problems may start from the time a person realises his or her sexual orientation is different from the majority’s, she says, and may be exacerbated as a person encounters challenges faced when coming out.

It can be hard to stay mentally healthy along the way.”

Research has shown that gay men in particular have higher rates of body dissatisfaction and shame due to gay male culture’s emphasis on physical appearance.

One study published in the journal Men and Masculinities found that gay men reported significantly more body dissatisfaction and had a significantly smaller ideal weight than heterosexual men.

Another study published in the journal Eating Behaviors found that gay men were significantly more likely to be at risk of disordered eating and were more driven to achieve a muscular body than heterosexual men.

That can create a lot of stress and anxiety for a man, which can even lead to depression.

Clark added

Not only are gay men concerned about societal stigma for their sexual orientation, but gay men can feel intense social pressure from their community to be a picture of physical attractiveness that isn’t always possible. They feel shame about their perceived physical flaws and can also be shamed by their partners, making it hard to come to terms with one’s physical limitations and realities.”

But as the new research and other data have shown, it’s not just gay men who are at risk.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, LGBTQ individuals are three times more likely than others to experience a mental health condition like major depression or an anxiety disorder.

Societal and cultural pressure can generate a great deal of added anxiety and relationship angst. It is isolating to feel different, and although we know so much of sexual orientation is biological, people still harbour a great deal of shame.”

If that anxiety isn’t redirected into realistic values or channelled into productive action, it can create a vulnerability to depression and self-destructive behaviours like substance abuse, Clark says.

However, it’s possible for us to lower our risk of developing a mental illness.

Clark says the most important way is to get educated about the symptoms of anxiety and depression and know your odds of developing each. If you show an early sign of decline, get help.

Don’t let one more stigma (mental health) stand in your way of finding the happiness and satisfaction you deserve to feel in life.”

Polarised: New Documentary Takes A Honest Look At Mental Health Issues In LGBTQ Community

Polarised is a new short, powerful and much needed documentary about LGBTQ+ young people living in London and suffering from mental illness.

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In this ground-breaking documentary, Charlie Smoke, Amy Gunn and their contemporaries explore what it means to be LGBTQ+ and mentally ill at a time when vital services and support are being slashed by austerity economics.

The LGBTQ+ community is disproportionately affected by mental illness.

A study recently showed that LGBTQ+ people are 10 times more likely to attempt suicide at any given point in their lifetimes.

LGBTQ+ people are 3 times more likely to experience anxiety disorders than heterosexuals, and up to 6 times more likely to suffer from depression.

Charlie Smoke, Executive Producer said:

As the Project has progressed, it’s become evident that this isn’t a documentary that will just personally touch our lives. It’s become a vehicle with which to channel the voices of many – those whose voices have been battered down, ignored and lost.

It became evident when we managed to raise over £2,200 in just under two months through our first round of crowd funding. We want to explore what it means to be LGBTQ+ and mentally ill in 2015 and to make ourselves visible. This short film is the start.”

The short film (running time approx. 24 minutes) can be viewed on KitschMix.TV

The project has also announced ‘The Polarised Glitter Ball’, an evening of drag, burlesque, comedy and queer performance on the 21st November at The Good Ship in Kilburn to raise vital funds for the production of the feature documentary. Tickets can be bought here

Agree or Disagree, But Study Shows Bisexual Women Are More Likely to Have Mental Health Issues Than Lesbians

Being a member of the LGBT community, while coming with its upsides (such as Pride and community spirit) also has plenty of downsides too (abuse, persecution and the denial of human rights). And its these downsides that have a massive impact on the LGBT community as the trauma and pressure of being ‘othered’ in society often leads to mental health issues.

This is particularly the case for bisexual women who have to deal with this as well as prejudice and abuse from within the LGBT community too. According to new research published in the Journal of Public Health and put together by The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, there is a far greater likelihood that bisexual women will have mental health issues than lesbians.

After looking at the data from the 2007 Stonewall Women’s Health Survey (which included responses from 5,706 bisexual and lesbian women living in the UK) they deemed that bisexual women are a third more likely to self-harm, two-thirds more likely to have an eating disorder, more likely to stay in the closet and are more likely to face discrimination from their peer groups too.

Dr Ford Hickson, the senior study author explains:

“Bisexual people are at particular risk of invisibility and marginalisation from both gay/lesbian communities and mainstream society. Although bisexual women in our study reported experiencing less sexuality-based discrimination than lesbians, this did not benefit their mental health.

Mental health services should be aware of both the differences and the similarities in bisexual and lesbian women’s mental health care needs, and tailor the services they provide accordingly.”

The treatment of bisexual people within the LGBT community is something that’s often put up for debate. It’s not uncommon for people to ask when a bisexual is just going to ‘pick a side’ or to be treated differently by lesbians because they like two genders rather than one. And this is a viewpoint unfortunately supported in modern pop culture in shows like Glee and Faking It which have both featured gay characters saying they would refuse to date bisexuals and in shows like The L Word in which Alice’s bisexuality was a running joke for the better part of six seasons.

Lisa Colledge, the Research Assistant for the study, added that

“Homophobic prejudice is now widely and rightly condemned; specific stigma around bisexual identity needs to be similarly confronted.”

Many people are likely to agree with that as they would feel that no one – gay or bisexual – deserves mistreatment. With anti-bisexual viewpoints heavily embedded in society this will take a lot of effort to turn around, but hopefully the publishing of this study is a stepping stone on the path to better mental health.

#polarised: An Inspiring Documentary on LGBTQ Mental Health in London

Polarised is an upcoming powerful and much needed documentary about Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer young people living in London and suffering from mental illness.

In this ground-breaking documentary, Charlie Smoke and his contemporaries explore what it means to be LGBTQ+ and mentally ill at a time when vital services and support are being slashed by austerity economics.

Polarised is important because LGBTQ+ mental health needs to be visible.”

Charlie Smoke (23) London

The film will include interviews with members of the LGBTQ community and it’s allies, social commentators as well as candid footage and animation.

Filming will begin in late July, wrapping at the beginning of September. The documentary will be released in autumn 2014.

A crowd-funding campaign is currently underway to raise the £5,000 needed to make the film. This began on April 25th, and will finish on June 24th at 11.59pm. This can be found at indiegogocom/projects/polarised.

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