LGBTQ+ people often face discrimination that can make accessing and receiving mental health care more difficult. Healthcare workers may not understand their needs, and negative interactions can make it less likely that people will seek help when they need it.
In a survey of 35,000 LGBTQ+ youth between the ages of 13 and 24, approximately 42% reported that they had seriously thought of attempting suicide in the past year. Such findings point to a need for psychological services that are designed to meet the needs of LGBTQ+ people.
Several mental health resources have emerged to help address this need. Whether you are looking for help for yourself or are a supportive ally, becoming familiar with and sharing these resources can be helpful
If you or someone you care about is experiencing a crisis, the following hotlines can help you locate trained counselors, information, and other resources.
Crisis Text Line
Text LGBTQ to 741-741
Texting the Crisis Text Line will connect you to a crisis counselor who can offer support. This resource is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The Trevor Project
1-866-488-7386 or text START to 678-678
The Trevor Project is the world’s largest crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ+ young people under the age of 25. You can reach them by phone, text, or chat 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Trans Lifeline is a service devoted to offering care and support to transgender people. It provides peer support from a place of experience since the organization is staffed by trans individuals.
LGBT National Hotline
The LGBT National Hotline is for people of all ages and offers a confidential, anonymous place to talk about issues including coming out, identity, bullying, safe sex, anxiety, and other concerns.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a free, anonymous resource for anyone who is dealing with suicidal thoughts or behaviors. By calling or visiting the site to access their online chat service, you can talk to a specially trained counselor who understands issues that LGBTQ+ people may be facing. Their website also offers a section devoted to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer issues along with information for friends and family looking to help.
There are also a number of organizations that provide resources, education, and other services online. Some of these include:
Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN): Student Action
Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) is an organization that offers information designed to help students take action and initiate changes in their schools and communities. Students who are interested in starting a Gender and Sexuality Alliance in their school can register to find resources and learn more about how student-led movements can help foster more inclusive schools for all students.
A 2014 study found that schools with anti-homophobia groups such as gay-straight alliances (GSAs) significantly reduced the risk of suicidal thoughts among both LGBTQ+ students and straight students.
GLMA Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality
GLMA Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality is an organization that works to connect people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender with welcoming healthcare providers. You can visit the site to search their provider directory to find healthcare professionals in your area.
True Colors United
The True Colors United focuses on ending homelessness among LGBTQ+ youth. In addition to providing learning resources and advocacy, they also provide fundraising guides for those interested in raising money to support LGBTQ+ youth.
There are also therapy services that specialize in treating LGBTQ+ individuals. Online therapy, in particular, is an increasingly important way for people to access affirming therapy that is sensitive to the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning people.
Pride Institute offers inclusive recovery programs for LGBTQ+ people. They offer both residential and outpatient treatment programs for substance use and addiction. This treatment provider also offers a family therapy program, a sexual health program, mental health referrals, and telehealth options.
Pride Counseling offers online therapy to members of the LGBTQ+ communities. This service features counselors who not only specialize in helping people who are LGBTQ+, they also have experience with a range of issues including stress, depression, anxiety, sleep problems, trauma, relationships, self-esteem, and interpersonal conflicts.
PFLAG was the first organization devoted to helping parents, families, and allies support LGBTQ+ people. Today, the organization supports a network of more than 400 local chapters found throughout the United States. Through their site, you can locate or even start a local chapter of the support organization.
Q Chat Space
Q Chat Space allows LGBTQ+ teens to participate in online support groups that are professionally facilitated. All members are verified and the facilitators guide conversations and enforce group rules to ensure safety. The site also offers an option for Spanish-speaking LBGTQ+ youth.
Challenges that teens may face include lack of acceptance from their families and bullying by peers, both of which may play a role in increasing the risk of mental health concerns.
Statistics suggest that LGBTQ+ teens have a higher risk for mental health conditions including anxiety, depression, and substance use.
The COVID-19 pandemic also took a serious toll on the mental health and well-being of many LGBTQ+ people, particularly young people. In a 2021 report by The Trevor Project, 70% of respondents reported that their mental health was “poor” during the pandemic. Almost half reported that while they wanted mental health care in 2020, they were unable to get it.
Some organizations that offer services specifically for LGBTQ+ youth include:
It Gets Better Project
The It Gets Better Project works to remind LGBTQ+ youth that there is hope and that no matter how things might be now, it does get better. The site offers resources and stories from people all over the world to encourage, uplift, and empower young people and to let them know that they are not alone.
LGBT National Youth Talkline
The LGBT National Youth Talkline, provided by the LGBT National Help Center, is aimed at teens and features trained peer counselors who can offer advice and information on topics such as sexual health, coming out, mental health, and other topics. They also feature a national resource database where you can search for youth groups, community centers, and other support resources in your area.
Love Is Respect
Love Is Respect offers resources for teens about healthy relationships and dating violence. The site has a section specifically for LGBTQ+ teens with information about dating abuse, personal safety, supporting others, and other topics. In addition to providing information about healthy relationships, they also have counselors available to provide support, advice, and education.
The National Runaway Safeline
The National Runaway Safeline works to provide resources and assistance to young people who have run away from home. They also work to help those who feel unsafe in their home or who are thinking of running away. They can provide assistance with transportation, shelter, counseling, and returning home.
How Mental Health Resources Can Help
The minority stress model suggests that the increased rate of mental health issues among LGBTQ+ individuals stems from their experiences with rejection and discrimination. The good news is that affirmative peers, social support systems, and professional mental health services can be helpful for people who are experiencing minority stress.
A 2019 research report by The Trevor Project found that LGBTQ+ youth who had at least one accepting adult in their lives were 40% less likely to report attempting suicide in the previous year.
Having access to support is essential. The Trevor Project 2021 report found that LGBTQ+ youth who had access to supportive spaces that affirmed their gender identity and sexual orientation had lower rates of attempted suicide. Many young people also reported that despite hardships, they also found strength and joy through things such as representation in media, learning more about LGBTQ history, and therapy.
Other Ways to Get Help
If you are dealing with a mental health issue, it is important to get help. Discrimination can not only lead to increased risk for mental health issues like depression and anxiety, but it can also affect the amount and quality of support that people may have from their own families.
In cases where people experience rejection by their own family, reaching out to friends and other sources of support is essential. Talking to a mental health professional can be helpful.
You might start by discussing the issue with your doctor, who may be able to recommend a supportive professional in your community. You may also check with some of the resources listed above to find therapists or support groups in your community.
What does P in LGBTQQIP2SAA stands for? ›
LGBTQQIP2SAA. The term stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, pansexual, two-spirit, asexual, and ally. “P” stands for pansexual: A term that describes a person who may have a physical, emotional, or romantic attraction to people of any gender.How can I help LGBT patients? ›
- Expand your own LGBTQIA+ care knowledge. ...
- Be aware of key LGBTQIA+ definitions. ...
- Deepen your LGBTQIA+ knowledge. ...
- Create a welcoming environment for LGBTQIA+ patients. ...
- Use inclusive language. ...
- Use gender-neutral language. ...
- Ask open-ended questions. ...
- Reflect the patient's language.
“Around the world, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBT) people face discrimination in almost all aspects of their lives. They are denied access to employment, education, and health care. They are targeted for attacks solely because of their gender expression or perceived sexual orientation.How do you make an inclusive environment for LGBTQ? ›
Create a welcoming physical environment.
Post signs that identify the room as a safe space, clearly designate a comment box, clearly post a nondiscrimination policy, set out LGBTQ health brochures, magazines, and reading materials, and specifically identify gender-neutral, single-occupancy restrooms.
- Recognizing and Avoiding Microaggressions.
- Discussing Gender Identity.
- Creating Inclusive Environments for Transgender Employees.
- Ensure Intersectionality.