As a society, we have always recognized that individuals who experience hardships in life such as oppression, bullying and abuse are more prone to mental health challenges. For the LGBTQ+ community, this hardship is often the norm. While there have been strides in LGBTQ+ rights and the way the community is treated, there is still a long way to go to eliminate discrimination.
Behind the Mental Health Struggle of LGBTQ+
According to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), an Ontario-based study of trans people found that 20% had experienced physical or sexual assault and that 34% were subjected to verbal threats or harassment because of their identity. LGBTQ+ individuals also report high levels of discrimination when seeking housing, employment, healthcare and other social services.
Being treated unfairly by the public is just one factor that affects mental health for the LGBTQ+ community. The process of coming out (or revealing one’s LGBTQ+ identity to others), gender transitioning, losing support from family, isolation and oppression are also part of the struggle. For children, it’s common for the avoidance of the topic to send the message that to be LGBTQ+ is a bad thing and is somehow a flaw, causing children to hide who they are at a very young age.
Facts & Figures
It is difficult to imagine how all of these factors can affect one’s mental health. The following statistics show just how drastically the LGBTQ+ community is affected by mental health issues:
- LGBTQ+ people face higher rates of depression, anxiety, suicidality, self-harm and substance use than heterosexual people (1)
- 77% of trans respondents in an Ontario-based survey had seriously considered suicide and 45% had attempted it (1)
- 47% of LGBTQ+ youth say they do not fit into their community (2)
It is absolutely critical for our community in Calgary to be accepting and inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community. A place where these individuals can feel belonging and understanding helps them to break away from the isolation and mental health challenges they currently face.
In Calgary, there are many safe spaces and supporting resources for LGBTQ+ youths and families. Here are just a few:
- The Calgary Centre for Sexuality – Offers free support for LGBTQ+ youth struggling with family, homelessness, transitioning or other issues
- Queermunity – A youth peer group that provides information, resources and community to young people aged 12-24 at The Alex Youth Health Centre
- Family Peer Groups – Including Trans Families and PFLAG Calgary
- Camp fYrefly – A leadership camp for LGBTQ+ youth aged 14-24
Click here for more resources.
Counselling for LGBTQ+ Mental Health
It can feel extremely isolating to be struggling with mental health issues and feel like you have no one to talk to. Fortunately, counselling provides a safe space where you build a trusted relationship with a counsellor that you click with. In this safe space, you and your counsellor will work through the challenges you are facing and develop strategies to cope, communicate and get back to living a life where you can truly be your best and most authentic self.
Your Counselling is a clinic in Calgary that offers counselling support for LGBTQ+ individuals. Contact us for a free consultation today and take the first step towards a happier, healthier life.