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Pride and Mental Health

Rainbow flag background with text: June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month

From MHA's President & CEO, Schroeder Stribling

June is Pride month - a time to honor the LGBTQ+ community, to lift their voices, celebrate their cultures, and recognize the progress and remaining work in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights. Inspired by the 1969 Stonewall Uprising, a tipping point in the LGBTQ+ rights movement in the United States, Pride is part celebration and part political activism. While a lot has changed in the 53 years since the Stonewall Uprising, the LGBTQ+ community still faces discrimination interpersonally and systemically.

Inequity harms mental health. While being LGBTQ+ is NOT a mental health condition or concern, LGBTQ+ individuals experience mental health struggles at higher rates than their straight and cisgender peers. Mental health challenges among the LGBTQ+ community are primarily due to individuals facing stigma, discrimination, and bias in many forms.

LGBTQ+ individuals can be incredibly resilient and thrive in the face of adversity with the help of supportive families, peers, and communities. But the ultimate protective factor in LGBTQ+ mental health is removing these adversities altogether, which we can work to achieve through creating informed and affirming environments. MHA thanks Janssen: Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson and Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc. for supporting our public education efforts.

How is Pride Relevant to Mental Health in 2022?

With an increasing amount of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation being proposed and enacted across the United States, 2022 has been a particularly difficult year for many LGBTQ+ people whose identities are being politicized. Not only does each discriminatory bill harm the LGBTQ+ individuals that it directly impacts, it also sends a broader message that LGBTQ+ people don’t have the right to exist or thrive in the ways that non-LGBTQ+ folks do.

Fast Facts

  • LGBTQ+ people are twice as likely as non-LGBTQ+ people to have a mental health condition and continue to show disparities in mental health, even though they are more likely to use mental health services.
  • People who identify as LGBTQ+ have more frequent suicidal thoughts, and rates are continuing to rise. Fifty-six percent of LGBTQ+ individuals who took an MHA depression screen in 2021 reported having suicidal thoughts more than half or nearly every day of the previous two weeks - nearly 7% higher than the reported rate in 2019. (MHA Screening)
  • The Trevor Project reports that 73% percent of LGBTQ+ youth report experiencing symptoms of anxiety, 58% report symptoms of depression, and 45% report having seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year. 
  • According to the U.S. Transgender Survey, 40% of transgender adults have attempted suicide during their lifetime, compared to less than 5% of the general U.S. population. 

New! to our collection of LGBTQ+ Resources this June

Coming Out in Adulthood: Imposter Syndrome
Coming Out in Adulthood: Telling Your Straight Partner
External Resources: LGBTQ+ Mental Health
Asexuality & Mental Health
Bisexuality & Mental Health
Visit the LGBTQ+ Mental Health Hub

Upcoming Events

Webinar: Supporting LGBTQ+ Youth in Our Communities
Webinar: Gender Identity with Lisa Razzano - Details Coming Soon!
Instagram Live with @jamesissmiling - 6/16 at 1 p.m. ET

Want to advocate for LGBTQ+ mental health on social media?

Don't forget to tag us!

IG: @mentalhealthamerica | Twitter: @mentalhealtham
Facebook: mentalhealthamerica | LinkedIn: mental-health-america

Download & share these images:

Being LGBTQ+ is not a mental health condition! However LGBTQ+ individuals experience mental health struggles at higher rates than their straight and cisgender peers.

More than half of LGBTQ+ youth who reported wanting mental health care in the last year didn't receive it, naming factors like cost and needing parent permission as barriers.

LGBTQ+ indivduals are incredibly resilient and can thrive in the face of adversity with the help of supportive families, peers, and communities.

LGBTQ+ individuals are more than 2X as likely as their non-LGBTQ+ counterparts to have a mental health condition.

Mental health challenges in the LGBTQ+ community are primarily due to individuals facing stigma, discrimination, and bias in many forms.

LGBTQ+ teens in states with homophobic and transphobic policies were more likely to attempt suicide than those in states with inclusive policies.

Among LGBTQ+ youth: 73% report symptoms of anxiety, 58% report symptoms of depression, 45% report seriously considering suicide in the past year

Asexual individuals report more everyday discrimination and stigma than non-asexual LGB people.

One study found that asexual youth reported higher rates of depression and anxiety compared to the LGBTQ+ population in general.

Trans people are 4X more likely than cisgender people to experience a mental health condition.

40% of transgender adults have attempted suicide during their lifetime.

LGBTQ+ youth who live in a community that is accepting of LGBTQ+ people reported significantly lower rates of attempting suicide than those who do not.

Or share the following messages:

  • LGBTQ+ mental health matters. That's why Mental Health America is sharing new resources and articles for LGBTQ+ #PrideMonth. mhanational.org/pride
  • #PrideMonth is a time to recognize the progress and remaining work in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights, including access to affirming health - and mental health - care. Find resources, articles, and more: mhanational.org/pride
  • 2022 has been a particularly challenging year for the LGBTQ+ community, whose rights are being challenged and identities politicized. Visit mhanational.org/pride for LGBTQ+ mental health resources.
  • Asexual youth have higher rates of depression and anxiety compared to the overall LGBTQ+ youth population, but little research has focused on this group. Learn more about asexuality and mental health here: mhanational.org/lgbtq/asexual-community-mental-health
  • People identifying as bisexual make up the largest identity group within the LGBTQ+ community. Learn more about the intersection between bisexuality and mental health: mhanational.org/lgbtq/bisexual-mental-health
  • Realizing you’re LGBTQ+ as an adult comes with some unique challenges – like coming out to your straight spouse. Learn about how to protect your mental health while navigating this change: mhanational.org/lgbtq/telling-your-straight-spouse
  • After a lifetime of seeming to be straight, some LGBTQ+ folks experience imposter syndrome when coming out in adulthood. Find tips on affirming your identity for better mental health here: mhanational.org/lgbtq/combatting-imposter-syndrome
  • Being LGBTQ+ is NOT a mental illness, but LGBTQ+ folks face unique mental health challenges due to stigma and discrimination. Learn more about LGBTQ+ mental health here: mhanational.org/lgbtq
  • Coming out is a courageous step towards living an authentic life. It can also be scary and even traumatic for some folks. Check out Mental Health America’s resources on LGBTQ+ mental health: mhanational.org/lgbtq
  • Research shows that LGBTQ+ folks face unique barriers to mental health care. That’s why early intervention is so critical. Take a free, confidential mental health screening at mhascreening.org
  • Mental health conditions affect people of every gender identity and sexual orientation. Taking a mental health test is one of the easiest ways to check in on your mental health. Get screened at mhascreening.org #PrideMonth