The number of persons who self identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender, Questioning, Inquisitive and Two-Spirited (LGBTQI2S) in the United States are estimated at nearly 9 million by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law. According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, LGBTQI2-S persons often encounter unique risks to their mental health, based on their sexual orientation. NAMI indicates that persons in the LGBTQI2-S community are at higher risk for depression, substance abuse disorders, and anxiety disorders. Social stigma also factors into the risks facing this population as LGBTQI2-S youth are at higher risk for bullying behavior, compounding the mental health risks in these youth. Coupled with the stigma associated with mental illness, the LGBTQI2-S population is at elevated risk for mental illness and barriers to care.
Another area that warrants special consideration is suicide and suicide prevention efforts in the LGBTQI2-S community. Along with an elevated risk for mental illness and mental disorders, this community also incurs added risk for suicide. Recently, there have been several high profile deaths by suicide related to anti-gay bullying behavior. Organizations such as The Trevor Project and It Gets Better are working hard to meet the needs of LGBTQI2-S youth to prevent suicide.
Overall, cultural competency in mental health systems and their ability to effectively address the LGBTQI2-S community’s mental health needs is an urgent need, and Mental Health America of Texas works through awareness, education and advocacy to improve and transform mental health care systems in Texas.
Mental Health America of Texas: Coming Together to Care: A Suicide Prevention and Postvention Toolkit for Texas Communities
The Trevor Project
Trevor Lifeline: 866.488.7386