LGBTQ Issues

Our sexuality and gender can form a big part of our identity and those who don’t fit society’s hetero-normative ideal can come up against more challenges. Those who identify as LGBTQ+ may be gay, lesbian, bisexual, transexual, pansexual, asexual, queer, non-binary or questioning. They can be seen as ‘different’, facing discrimination, bullying and a lack of understanding.

While things in society are slowly moving forward in terms of acceptance, we still have a long way to go. Incredibly, the World Health Organisation only removed ‘homosexuality’ as a formal psychiatric diagnosis in 1992.

The fact is, being LGBTQ+ does not lead to mental health problems - dealing with other people’s adverse reactions does. Because of this those who don’t identify as heterosexual are more likely to experience mental health problems.

If you identify as LGBTQ+ you may be particularly prone to:

  • Depression - when you experience a low mood for a long period of time.
  • Anxiety - when you feel especially anxious or worried for long periods of time or at a high intensity.
  • Self-harm - when you hurt yourself on purpose to cope with difficult emotions.
  • Suicidal thoughts - when you feel very low and as if there is no way out.

Speaking to a counsellor can help with difficulties such as:

  • finding it hard to accept your sexuality
  • coping with other people’s reactions
  • low self-esteem and low self-confidence
  • fear of violence or abuse in public places
  • effects of bullying and discrimination
  • feeling as if your body does not reflect your true gender (gender dysphoria)
  • transitioning