The LGBT community has always been more vulnerable to serious mental issues like anxiety and depression, and also substance abuse historically, and the lack of social acceptance makes the condition even worse. Though the situation is gradually changing, it’s still a far cry from the ideal scenario. Today in this article, we will talk about this issue, which seems to be not talked about very much, until recently. A lot of doctors, health workers and volunteers who are working closely with the global LGBT community, expressing their worries and trying to spread awareness. We talked with some of them, and this article is based on their opinions on this matter and some hard facts and data collected from various government and private organizations.
People often feel like they’ll make others mad if they try to cry out for help, and people living with anxiety are commonly known as people pleasers. Because of these issues, people are being bullied for having this disability in their lives. It is found that anxiety disorders are the most common psychological illness in the United States, and it’s affecting over forty million adults over the age of 18, which is 18.1 percent of the population, every year. LGBT individuals are almost three times more likely than others to experience a mental health condition such as major depression or generalized anxiety disorder. The fear of coming out and being discriminated against for sexual orientation and gender identities can lead to depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, thoughts of suicide and substance abuse. The LGBT community is at a higher risk for suicide because they face substantially more peer pressure and mental harassment than the straight people, and due to substance abuse as well.
For LGBT people, who are aged 10 to 24, suicide is one of the leading causes of death. The youths from the LGBT community are four times at more risk to die caused by suicide, to have suicidal thoughts or engage in self-harm than straight people. As per data, between 35 and 65 percent of the transgender population, which is literally millions of people, experience suicidal idealization, every year. Someone who has faced with rejection once she came out to her friends and family by revealing her sexual preference, is more than eight times more likely to have thought of suicide or attempted suicide than someone who was accepted by their family after really revealing their sexual orientation. According to the data from the National Survey on drug use and health, the adults who are identified as a sexual minority used illicit drugs more than twice than heterosexual adults in the past year. Nearly a third of sexual minority adults or LGBT people have used non-prescription marijuana in the past year. The data is alarming when we consider the fact that at the same time only twelve point nine percent of heterosexual adults used any non-prescription marijuana. According to the same survey, every one in ten from LGBT community misused prescription pain relievers, while only four point five percent of heterosexual adults did the same.
We all, as a society, need to understand that there are people living with these issues. It’s not just the people you see as dramatic or too soft, it’s everyone. We want people to understand that everyone in life is going through something, and we all have a story to tell about our past. And because of these backstories, we all have our reasons for having anxiety. We want people to know that it’s okay to acknowledge the fact that you may be struggling, and it’s okay to accept your setbacks in life, and it’s also okay to seek out help if you need it. Psychological illnesses and substance abuse in the LGBT community is not something to hide or be ashamed of, it is something we need to be here to bring awareness to.