Putting a priority in LGBTQ mental health is important. According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, LGBTQ individuals are at almost three times the risk for mental health disorders like anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. And in their youth, lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals are nearly twice as likely as their heterosexual peers to misuse drugs and alcohol. Even more harrowing, LGBTQ individuals ages 10-24 attempt suicide four times more often than their non-LGBTQ peers, with similarly high rates among transgender youths.
For many of those in the LGBTQ community, these high rates of mental health disorders, substance and alcohol abuse, and suicide attempts are more than just statistics—they’re a reality of a life spent fielding discrimination and abuse. As treatment providers, it is important to recognize the unique nature of LGBTQ mental health needs, and to offer treatments that are personalized to each individual.