Negative Mental Health Effects of Discrimination in the LGBTQ Community
By: Allison Armijo
If though they do not feel vulnerable enough, the LGBTQ community is constantly discriminated against in more ways than one. This multi-platform abuse is difficult to discern, leading to silent screams for help with no answers. If that does not seem bad enough, the people suffering from this hate often have no outlets, no people to run to, or if they do, very few. Now, this is not to label the LGBTQ community as unsupported in any way, it is just more common than not that people who reside within those boundaries are misunderstood and therefore not accepted by welcoming arms by their peers. This is not the case for everywhere, but it is common in locations where prejudices reign supreme. Therefore, it is important to recognize these prejudices when they occur as an attempt to mollify their detrimental blow on the minds and souls of those on the receiving end.
Although many people are aware of the discrimination of the LGBTQ community, the mountainous statistics give evidence that mental health is declining in regards to people who are made fun of. For example, the office of Disease and Health Promotion, under Mental Health America, provides an umbrella overview of this issue by stating, “Research suggests that LGBT individuals face health disparities linked to societal stigma, discrimination, and denial of their civil and human rights. Discrimination against LGBT persons has been associated with high rates of psychiatric disorders, substance abuse, and suicide” (2016). This excerpt clearly outlines the variations of issues that people in the LGBTQ community can face. There is not just one mental health disorder, there are many and they multiply every day. The article continues to explain how, “LGBT youth are 4 times more likely to attempt suicide, experience suicidal thoughts, and engage in self-harm, as compared to youths that are straight” (2016). This crushing statistic portrays the vulnerable emotions that are spawned by the LGBTQ youth population, and how often those children feel they have nowhere to turn. Especially at an age where children may feel like everyone is going to judge them or they are inferior to those who around them. Furthermore, the Canadian Health Association supports the claims and statistics made by Mental Health America by explaining how, “Hates crimes motivated by sexual orientation more than doubled in Canada from 2007 to 2008, and were the most violent of all hate crimes.” Because these crimes are so difficult to endure, the mental health of the LGBTQ community is given a detrimental influence. This influence sways their actions and mental thoughts/ emotions. Although that may sound odd, the discrimination against the LGBTQ community is never seen by the perpetrators, only by those affected. And since these effects are so dangerous, they too are rarely put in the spotlight of mental health.
Mental health is always morphing. It is changing and twisting, and making new shapes, never to be discerned by the public eye. This, while an eccentricity, is a dangerous quality that plagues its host. Mental health, when plummeting, can be measured, but never accurately enough to assess the true well-being of a person. Therefore, it is difficult to discern how people, especially in the LGBTQ community are faring most days. This wildly contributes to poor mental health and how discrimination of the LGBTQ community leads to mental health problems or precarious mental health in general.