A 2000 survey reported that 70 percent of lesbians and 60 percent of gay men said they sought mental health counseling in some form. It’s normal to feel “down” sometimes, but if those feelings persist or become too extreme, consider talking to a professional about it. There are also free, anonymous depression screening tools available online like the one at www.depression-screening.org
LGBT people often do not receive proper mental health care. Providers often lack the basic knowledge of the mental health needs of LGBT people; they don’t understand the diversity of different populations within the LGBT communities, and they lack the ability to refer patients and clients to appropriate community resources and referrals.
For many years, homosexuality was classified as a mental disorder and studies reported high rates of suicide suicide attempts among young people who identified as homosexual. Did the classification cause gay people to be depressed or did the depression result from the classification? Since the declassification of homosexuality as a mental disorder professionals have been able to address the issue of depression directly. Nonetheless, many still do not understand the situation. And there are still diagnoses listed in the DSM-4 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) that apply to transgender persons. Mental disorders may cause limitations in one’s life, but they often are seen as a secondary problem. Our job, when dealing with the professionals, is to clarify the confusion and make it clear that being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender is not a ‘hook’ on which to hang mental health issues.
For more information on LGBTQ health issues visit Rainbow Access Initiative and choose from the menu options on the left side.
For more information on spititual health for LGBTQ visit CWAC’s website or click on the “email us” button and contact me.