Research shows that LGBT adults struggle with more mental health problems than non-LGBT adults

SPRINGFIELD, MO. (KY3) – According to the latest findings from the US Census Bureau, regardless of household type, LGBT adults struggle more with mental health than non-LGBT adults. The study found that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adults consistently reported higher levels of symptoms of both anxiety and depression, especially during a pandemic.

Psychologist and director of Burrell Behavioral Health Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Shelley Farnan said she was not surprised by these findings.

“These rates have remained stable for many, many years,” Farnan said. “As we consider these differences, we also want to educate people about the experiences of the LGBTQIA community.”

Farnan said that one of the reasons LGBT people face more mental health struggles is that they are not accepted as much as non-LGBT people, which in turn creates many mental health problems.

“It is noted that the LGBTQIA community has 2 times higher levels of anxiety and depression than their non-LGBTQIA counterparts,” Farnan said.

Farnon went on to say that suicide in the LGBT community is also high.

“Colored trans people are 48-50 percent more likely to report a suicide attempt,” Farnan said.

She said that this data point is one thing, but the realization that many people do not want to be alive is a statistic that she considers unacceptable.

After asking Farnan what some of the additional stressors LGBT people face that other people do not face so much, she said: “Hatred, discrimination, the desire of health care providers to serve us, irritation, ridicule, staring … ā€¯Farnan said.

Farnan uses the example of an LGBT person who enters the OBGYN office and does not look like the people who are supposed to enter.

The courage to be a counselor, Quinn Walsh, said that the things the LGBT community has to go through are dehumanizing.

“It’s very strange that your identity is not just being questioned, but also being discussed,” Walsh said.

Both said that these are just a few of the many causes that contribute to the mental health problems of LGBT people.

Bridget Cunningham, who attends the Glo Center Downtown, is part of the LGBTQIA community. Cunningham said she identified as a lesbian and an asexual person, but she denied that her experiences were different from others in the community.

“I’m white, I’m a gender, I come from a family that was very receptive and so are my friends,” Cunningham said.

Cunningham said that although her privileges had helped her in life, there were still difficulties.

“I define myself as a lesbian, and sometimes there are questions from people who say, ‘Are you sure?’ Or ‘Maybe you just haven’t found the right man yet,'” Cunningham said.

She said that when people told her these phrases, it meant that there was a moral failure in being part of the LGBT community.

“It’s just a different part of me, the same as being tall, having brown hair, liking certain things over others … it’s separate from who I am.”

Cunningham said places like Glo Center and her family make her feel comfortable with what she is, but she said she didn’t always feel comfortable and had previously felt isolated.

“I had to hide … all the time,” Cunningham said. “If I had to show this integral part of me, would I be accepted?”

She said these fears weighed on her constantly, contributing to her own mental health problems. She said she struggled with her own worries, especially when she felt rejected and isolated.

However, these trials made Cunningham stronger, and she is now advocating for others who are experiencing similar difficulties. She became a therapist and will start a new job in July as an outpatient therapist.

“I went out long before I wanted to be a therapist, but then I realized that these two things intersect can be very valuable,” Cunningham said.

Cunningham said that when she worked with adolescents who began to establish their own identity and sexual orientation, they felt much more comfortable once they knew that Cunningham was outside and it was comfortable to be outside.

“The stress will just melt off their shoulders,” Cunningham said.

Psychologist Shelley Farnan also stressed that the LGBT community are human beings, just like their non-LGBT counterparts.

“We all know and love someone who is LGBTQI +, whether we know it or not,” Farnan said. “When LGBTQIA + people see and know each other as their true selves, then they can live.”

Farnan said that once people can fully accept the LGBT community as it is, it will change the world for the better.

Farnan listed useful local and national resources for those in the LGBT community who struggle with mental health issues, such as the Glo Center, PROMO, Human Rights Campaign, PFLAG, Fenway Institute, and The Trevor Project for Youth.

Both Cunningham and Farnan said there is still a lot of work to be done to help the LGBTQIA + community in Springfield and around the world, but resources like the ones listed above can help significantly so that these people do not feel isolated or alone. .

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