There’s a lot of attention given to the physical safety and well-being of the LGBT community, but their mental health is equally important. People looking for same sex couples counseling in Palo Alto often come to us.
Some of the most commonly observed mental health issues in people who are part of the LGBT—or LGBTQIA+—community are discussed below:
As one of the most prevalent mental health disorders in the country, depression has a bigger impact on LGBT persons than on heterosexuals. Greater occurrence of depression is also linked with increased drug use.
LGBT teens tend to experience more severe depression, as for them, it can be accompanied by major events—such as coming out publicly—and by negative experiences such as bullying or harassment over their sexuality.
Untreated depression can often worsen into suicidal ideation. Many of the people who experience consistent, active suicidal ideation end up attempting it, with some attempts resulting in death.
Other forms of suicidal ideation may be more passive or fleeting, in which case they’re unlikely to compel a person to attempt it.
LGBTQ+ people who are younger in age tend to feel suicidal and attempt suicide more than heterosexual people in similar age groups.
Many LGBTQ people face a hostile home environment or mistreatment from their family, which can create threats to safety and instill a kind of hyper-vigilance in them.
Living in such an environment can result in an anxiety disorder, where a person’s brain tends to be constantly alert for a perceived threat to them.
The physical danger many LGBT people face—even as adults—can make any existing anxiety worse.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Members of the LGBT community, particularly trans individuals, are at risk of facing prolonged harassment, bullying, discrimination, verbal or physical abuse, or even physical assaults.
This can increase their susceptibility to PTSD, forcing them to relive their trauma and respond to it over and over again.
In severe cases, PTSD may also be triggered by reading or hearing about similar incidents happening to someone else.
Mental Health Treatment and the LGBT Community
A few factors prevent many LGBT people from seeking treatment for their mental health problems:
- The stigma around sexuality and sexual orientation
- Lack of cultural awareness
- Lack of understanding of LGBT people and their experience
- Minimizing or dismissing the importance of a person’s sexual orientation
While searching for a mental health professional, their awareness of LGBT issues and the presence of a non-judgmental, supportive attitude should first be established. A same sex couples therapist in Palo Alto, for example, can help couples deal with problems arising from their own personal trauma.
At Silicon Valley Marriage Counseling, the English and Farsi speaking therapist Azizeh E. Rezaiyan uses her over 20 years of experience to assist people with marriage guidance counseling, anxiety counseling, counseling for depression, treatment for male depression, and relationship counseling in Silicon Valley.