According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), depression is the most common mental health disorder in the United States. Depression can affect any gender, race, socioeconomic group, and age. Members of the LGBTQ+ community might have additional questions and struggles.
Loved ones and members of the LGBTQ+ community should be aware of the risks of depression within their community. When seeking treatment for depression and working with a therapist, it’s a good idea for the individual to ensure the professionals they work with understand their sexual and gender preferences.
The guide provides the most salient facts and information someone needs to know about depression in the LGBTQ+ community:
Statistics About Depression Among LGBTQ+ Communities
Depression among the LGBTQ+ community is higher than in many other groups and communities due to the additional trauma, bullying, and rejection that members face more often than others. The statistics concerning depression among LGBTQ+ youth and adult communities tell the story.
Here’s a look at some of those statistics:
- Forty-five percent of LGBTQ+ youth reported considering suicide in the last 12 months.
- Forty percent of adults who identify as transgender has attempted suicide at least once.
- All members of the LGBTQ+ community are at higher risk of considering and attempting suicide.
These numbers are higher than the average rates of depression and suicidal ideations because of the community’s unique challenges. The challenges include:
- Inability to tell friends and family members about their sexual or gender preferences
- Family members and friends who alienate the person after they come out
- Extreme bullying
- Violence due to sexual or gender preferences
These additional factors can make it more difficult for someone in the LGBTQ+ community to manage their day-to-day life. The person must remain constantly vigilant and process their responses to these injustices, leading to depression and other mental health conditions.
How Prevalent Is Depression in LGBT Youth?
Depression in LGBTQ+ youth is much higher than in their heterosexual, cisgender peers. Depending on their ability to come out to family and friends and how these people react, this group of youths can face severe depression and other mental health disorders as they struggle for acceptance.
Even if LGBTQ+ youth finds love and acceptance at home and among their social circle, they face intense bullying and threats to their well-being at school and online. The chances of violent encounters increase for LGBTQ+ youth. Many of them struggle to process the emotions created by this discrimination.
The pressure and level of harassment can be more overwhelming as young adults. And it can be challenging for members of the LGBTQ+ community to leave a toxic situation. In contrast, established adults may be able to move or change jobs to escape harassment. LGBTQ+ youth lack the options to remove themselves from unhealthy conditions that become available as they grow up.
In many cases, LGBTQ+ youth have higher instances of suicide attempts and increased rates of drug and alcohol abuse. This is likely a result of community members attempting to deal with their situations independently. This makes them more likely to experience depression or other mental health concerns. In addition, treatment may be less accessible, especially if they aren’t in an accepting family situation.
Is Depression Common in LGBT Adults?
Although LGBTQ+ adults can move, find new friends, and change jobs, they still face discrimination and bullying worldwide. Also, they carry the fear, trauma, and issues from their youth into their adult life.
If a member of the LGBTQ+ used drugs and alcohol in their youth, they might struggle with addiction as they age. This can create a co-occurring condition when they use drugs and alcohol to deal with their depression.
Many LGBTQ+ adults deal with depression or anxiety disorders and require treatment for their mental health issues. This is common even if they don’t have a dual diagnosis of a drug or alcohol addiction. It can be difficult for a member of the LGBTQ+ community to find the care and compassion they need to recover. When dealing with depression, many members of the LGBTQ+ community will need to overcome past trauma. They can care for their mental health by learning new ways to cope with ongoing difficulties. This requires the person to find a therapist who understands their needs. Preferably a therapist who has experience working with members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Treatment for Depression Among LGBTQ+
Mental health problems among LGBTQ+ adults and young people should be taken seriously and tailored to their unique life experiences. This treatment also needs to take place in a safe space for the LGBTQ+ person. Facilitating an environment where the person can feel comfortable, understood, and valued is essential.
The treatment for depression among LGBTQ+ adults and youths can take many forms depending on the patient’s emotional state. Some options include:
- Inpatient treatment: If the person has suicidal thoughts and has reached the planning stages, they might need to start their treatment for depression in an in-patient treatment center. The person stays there around the clock until their doctor feels like they’re no longer in danger. During this time, they receive counseling and possibly medication. They also participate in support groups with their peers to help build a sense of community.
- Outpatient therapy: A member of the LGBTQ+ community who isn’t struggling with immediate suicidal thoughts can utilize outpatient treatment. This can include medication, group therapy, mind and body wellness techniques, and family sessions.
The patient needs to select a therapist and method of treatment that benefits them the most.
Find Wellness at No Matter What Recovery
With additional risk factors for depression, people in the LGBTQ+ community must be constantly vigilant for signs of depression. Working with the right mental health professional can make a difference in the success of treatment and the ability to recover.
At No Matter What Recovery, all our staff members are allies of the LGBTQ+ community and provide compassionate care. We work to help each patient make a full recovery.
Contact us today to find support and learn more about our program.