Pride Month LGBTQ
WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ohio –
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning (LGBTQ) community represents a diverse spectrum of identities, expressions of gender, and sexual orientation. LGBTQ Pride Month is celebrated annually in June to honor the 1969 Stonewall riots, and efforts to achieve equal justice and equal opportunity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) Americans. Pride Month is not only a month of celebration, but an opportunity to reflect and learn about the historic and current challenges individuals of the LGBTQ community face in being open with themselves and finding supportive environments to thrive.
Belonging to the LGBTQ community can be a major source of strength, but may also bring unique challenges. It’s important to recognize how individuals’ experiences of sexual orientation and gender identity can relate to mental health.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) members of the LGBTQ community are more than twice as likely to experience depression, anxiety disorders, and other mental health challenges.
There are many important risk factors that contribute to mental health challenges in the LGBTQ community including stigma, societal rejection, or trauma from homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, bullying, or identity shaming. Often, substance misuse and/or overuse, and self-harm may be used as a coping mechanisms or as a form of self-medication for resulting mental health challenges.
NAMI further states that compared to the general population, LGBTQ adults are twice more likely to experience a substance use disorder and transgender individuals are almost four times as likely to experience a substance use disorder. LGBTQ members are also at an increased risk of experiencing homelessness as a result of family rejection or discrimination. High school students who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual are more than four times as likely to have attempted suicide compared to their heterosexual peers and 40% of transgender adults have attempted suicide in their lifetime, compared to 5% of the general population.
Social media has been a complex landscape for the LGBTQ community. Free platforms such as TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram has provided access to openly watch others, find friends, and connect with other LGBTQ members, strengthening the sense of community. For LGBTQ youth, the internet can be a refuge, a place to feel less alone, and may normalize their sexual orientation or gender identity by seeing others that look like them and use the same identifying labels. Unfortunately, these platforms also create a space for cyber bullying and harassment.
The good news is that there are a number of agencies and resources committed to helping fight the stigma that exists against the LGBTQ+ community, and who exist to help support behavioral health services and suicide prevention. Confronting barriers and mental health challenges with an LGBTQ-inclusive approach in mental health and/or addiction treatment can lead to better outcomes, and ultimately make recovery from depression, anxiety disorders, substance use disorders, or other mental health challenges possible. It may take time to find a match in a professional but thanks to the Mental Health Levy passed in 2017, Washington County has expanded options for services! If you or someone you know is struggling with LGBTQ+ identity, mental health disorders, or substance use disorders, please reach out for help.
Local Mental Health & Substance Use Disorder Treatment Providers
- Life and Purpose Behavioral Health (Marietta, Belpre, & Beverly, OH): 740-376-0930
- Walk-In Hours Monday through Friday 8AM-1PM
- Rigel Recovery Services (Reno, OH): 740-371-5160
- Hopewell Health Center (Belpre, OH): 740-423-8095
- Call Mondays & Wednesdays between 8AM-11AM for available Walk-In Hours
- Integrated Services for Behavioral Health (Marietta, OH): 1-800-321-8293
Crisis Resources to save in your cell phone:
- Trevor Line (LGBTQ) call 1-866-488-7386 or Text START: 867678
- Youthline call 1-877-968-8491 or Text TEEN2TEEN: 839863
- 24-Hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
- Crisis Text Line: text “4Hope” to 741741 (24/7, Free & Confidential)