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  • What Unique Stressors Impact the LGBTQ+ Community?

    Although we all experience stressors in our daily lives, certain populations can experience an overwhelming amount of stress. People who are marginalized often experience more stress than average. Those who are at the receiving end of discrimination, violence and bullying may experience a level of stress that can leave them feeling a lack of emotional and physical safety.

    LGBTQ+ people especially, have encountered many obstacles in the journey towards advocacy and acceptance. From microaggressions to violence, it is important to be mindful of the experiences LGBTQ+ people have. Whether you are LGBTQ+ yourself and need some reassurance, you are an ally learning more about how to help, or you are new to this topic, here are a few examples of unique stressors.

    1. Bullying

    School and work environments create microcultures that can either be healthy, or unhealthy. As adults, we often get to choose whether or not we want to stay at a workplace. Kids, on the other hand, do not get as much choice. As kids grow and develop, they may find themselves pushing boundaries in regards to how they relate to others. This can lead kids who identify as LGBTQ+ to become marginalized and targeted in the school environment.

    1. Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors

    There are a variety of mental health issues that can lead to suicidal behaviors. Feelings of being stuck and finding no way to escape environments that are detrimental to mental health can also lead towards suicidal behaviors. According to the National Institute for Mental Health, LGBTQ+ individuals have higher rates of suicidal thoughts and attempts compared to heterosexual adults.

    1. Anxiety and Depression

    As a group that frequently experiences oppression, the mind and body can react to the sense of being oppressed. LGBTQ+ individuals may experience more anxiety about their sense of safety, and their sense of connectedness to others since there is often discrimination. They may also feel depression when they feel hopeless about their futures.

    1. Eating Disorders

    Although there can be many reasons for an eating disorder to develop, LGBTQ+ individuals may have unique stressors such as severe stress and body image issues. It is found that people who identify as transgender or gender non-conforming, as well as men and boys who are LGBTQ+, may be more likely to have an eating disorder.

    1. Substance Use

    The use of substances is often a way to escape or numb pain. Both emotional and physical pain can be covered up with substances. LGBTQ+ individuals who have experienced trauma, immense distress, and rejection from loved ones, may turn to substances to escape from such strong feelings.

    It is important to remember that there are many resources available in our community for support. No one has to/ should go through these challenges alone. Finding a community of allies is also an important part of healing and strengthening your mental health. Locally in Miami-Dade we have the YES Institute. In Broward county we have SunServe and in Palm Beach county we have Compass.