Before we start, let’s make one thing clear: Sexuality is not a mental health illness.
So, why is it under ‘mental health issues’? Well, the reason for that is the LGBT+ community are at a greater risk of developing mental health issues than the straight community. Research suggests that depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts are higher in the LGBT+ community than their hetero counterparts.
Well it is thought that homophobia and bullying links directly to the mental health of LGBT+ people.
As it is important to talk whenever you are feeling stressed, depressed, anxious or suicidal, it can be made harder when you are LGBT+ as often these feelings happen when you are not ready to ‘come out’. We’re not suggesting you rush the ‘coming out’ phase, but please be reassured that anything you discuss with your GP will be confidential and that they will not ‘out’ you to your friends or family.
Mental health of LGBT+ individuals can come under strain as difficulty accepting your sexuality can lead to alcohol and substance misuse, isolation. Likewise LGBT+ people can experience low self-esteem, are at an increased risk of suicide, poor relationships and a lack of family support, PTSD and depression.
Often talking therapies are the best course of action to help reduce these feelings through contextualising the thoughts. Often, we catastrophise unknown situations which can have a negative impact on our mental health. It really can help talking to a professional about your mental health.
Remember! Your sexuality is completely normal and it is not a mental illness – regardless of whether you are straight, gay, bi, pan, trans, queer, asexual, non-binary, the list can go on.