“We’re here and we're queer and we’re not going shopping.” | Moorepay
May 28, 2024

“We’re here and we’re queer and we’re not going shopping.”

Woman presenting workshop on LGBTQ+ mental health

…is a slogan first used by LGBTQ+ activists back in the 1990s which continues to be used today.  It’s an expression used to express frustration and disappointment in the way the people from the queer community continue to be discriminated against and poorly treated today. 

One of the main challenges when suffering from discrimination is the impact on the person’s mental health. This includes the impact on the LGBTQIA+ community which we discuss here, but there are of course mental health consequences for those who have experienced any form of discrimination, including racism, ableism, sexism, and more. Still somewhat of a taboo subject, today we attempt to dispel this and discuss how you can manage your own and others’ mental health through positive action. 

Here are 10 important points about LGBTQIA+ mental health

Increased risk

Anyone can experience mental health problems, but those who identify as LGBTQIA+ are more likely to develop issues like low self-esteem, depression, anxiety (including social anxiety), eating problems, substance misuse, self-harm, suicidal feelings, and other mental health challenges. Over the previous year, half of LGBTQIA+ people experienced depression, and three in five experienced anxiety. While being LGBTQIA+ doesn’t automatically mean having mental health issues, it does put individuals at higher risk.

Complex factors

The reasons behind the increased risk are multifaceted. Factors such as homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, stigma, discrimination, and difficult experiences related to coming out contribute to mental health struggles among LGBTQIA+ individuals.

Positive impact

Embracing your LGBTQIA+ identity can have a positive impact on your well-being. It may lead to an increase in self-confidence and self-worth, improved relationships with family, both biological and chosen, a sense of community and belonging, freedom of expression and greater resilience.

Read about how nurturing supportive environments can help here, and how self-compassion and pride can positively impact your mental health here.

Legal rights

LGBTQIA+ individuals deserve support and respect, regardless of their identity or background, as is enshrined in UK law. They also have legal rights to access healthcare without discrimination.

Unique identities

LGBTQIA+ people do not exist as one homogenous group. Each person’s identity is a mix of various factors, including age, ethnicity, religion, cultural background, socio-economic status, gender identity, sexuality, physical ability, and more.

Challenges

Some LGBTQIA+ individuals face unique challenges that others may not understand. These challenges can include various forms of discrimination, social exclusion, or social disadvantage, which can impact mental health and make seeking help even harder1.

Seeking help

If you’re an LGBTQIA+ person struggling with mental health, remember that you deserve support. Managing mental health within the LGBTQ+ community involves a combination of self-care, seeking support, and fostering resilience. You can also consider exploring specialised LGBTQIA+ services.

Strategies for looking after your mental health as an LGBTQIA+ person

Self-acceptance and self-compassion

  • Begin by accepting and embracing your LGBTQ+ identity. Understand that it’s okay to be who you are.
  • Practice self-compassion. Treat yourself with kindness and understanding, especially during challenging times.

Build a support network

  • Connect with other LGBTQ+ individuals. Seek out supportive friends, family members, or community groups.
  • Attend LGBTQ+ events, workshops, and social gatherings to build connections and find like-minded people.

Educate yourself

  • Learn about LGBTQ+ history, rights, and advocacy. Understanding the struggles and triumphs of the community can empower you.
  • Stay informed about mental health resources specifically tailored for LGBTQ+ individuals.

Seek professional help

  • Consider therapy or counselling. Find a mental health professional who is knowledgeable about LGBTQ+ issues.
  • Therapy can help you explore your feelings, cope with stress, and develop healthy coping mechanisms.

Address minority stress

  • Recognise that LGBTQ+ individuals often face unique stressors related to their identity. These can include discrimination, stigma, and rejection.
  • Develop resilience by finding healthy ways to cope with these stressors. Meditation, mindfulness, and exercise can be helpful.

Advocate for yourself

  • Be your own advocate when seeking healthcare. If a provider is not LGBTQ+ affirming, consider finding a different one.
  • Know your rights and demand respectful treatment.

Create safe spaces

  • Identify safe spaces where you can be yourself without fear of judgment. These could be physical places or online communities.
  • Surround yourself with people who accept and celebrate your identity.

Practice self-care

  • Prioritise self-care activities that promote mental well-being. This could include exercise, hobbies, or spending time in nature.
  • Get enough rest, eat well, and manage stress.

Challenge internalised homophobia or transphobia

  • Reflect on any negative beliefs you may hold about your own LGBTQ+ identity. Work towards self-acceptance.
  • Seek therapy if internalised homophobia or transphobia is affecting your mental health.

Know when to reach out

  • If you’re struggling, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Reach out to a therapist, counsellor, or a helpline.
  • Remember that you deserve support and care.

Remember that everyone’s journey is unique, and it’s essential to find what works best for you. You are not alone, and there are resources available to support you.

If you need further assistance or have any other questions, feel free to ask!

Moorepay policy team have some simple solutions for all businesses about mental health, equality and diversity – come and speak to us.

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Stephen Johnson
About the author

Stephen Johnson

Stephen has over 25 years experience in private sector HR and management roles, working as a Manager for over 10 years and eventually moving into the financial services industry. In his current role as an HR Policy Review Consultant he develops, reviews and maintains our clients’ employment documentation. With extensive knowledge of management initiatives and HR disciplines Stephen is commercially focused and supports clients in delivering their business objectives whilst minimising the risk of litigation.

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