#MentalHealth

Do You or Someone You Know Struggle With Mental Health Disorder?

October 10th is World Mental Health Day—a day to recognize that mental health, although stigmatized, is a serious concern that most, if not all, have issues with during their lives. The World Health Organization states that “half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14, but most cases go undetected and untreated.” And it’s true! Many of us suppress a lot of our daily angst until we reach a breaking point and then we choose to seek out, or ignore, our anxiety or depression.

It’s no secret that the LGBTQIA community struggle with mental health illness primarily because many of us have suffered some form of trauma or continue to live through daily issues that interfere with our health. Many have struggled with bullying, body image, lack of strong support systems, or even dealing with microaggressions at work that could lead to internalizing emotion. Bottling all of this up can take a toll on you until you reach a tipping point where you don’t know what to do.

WHO also adds:

Adolescence and the early years of adulthood are a time of life when many changes occur, for example changing schools, leaving home, and starting university or a new job. For many, these are exciting times. They can also be times of stress and apprehension however. In some cases, if not recognized and managed, these feelings can lead to mental illness. The expanding use of online technologies, while undoubtedly bringing many benefits, can also bring additional pressures, as connectivity to virtual networks at any time of the day and night grows. Many adolescents are also living in areas affected by humanitarian emergencies such as conflicts, natural disasters and epidemics. Young people living in situations such as these are particularly vulnerable to mental distress and illness.

There are many dangers associated to mental health disorders that go unaddressed.

Mental disorders comprise a broad range of problems, with different symptoms. However, they are generally characterized by some combination of abnormal thoughts, emotions, behaviour and relationships with others. Examples are schizophrenia, depression, intellectual disabilities and disorders due to drug abuse. Most of these disorders can be successfully treated.

So what can we do? For ourselves—for each other.

For starters, talking to someone is a great way to deal with mental health issues. Seek out the help of a therapist who can help guide you toward getting back on track and living your best, healthy life.

Also, don’t be afraid to take a step back from the stress. We all need to practice self-care. If that means saying “NO” to more things or taking a back seat on projects or simply sleeping in or staying in, away from the chaos, then do it! There is nothing better you can do for yourself than to allow yourself to recharge and re-emerge with a new outlook on life. Take some time to reevaluate your priorities and do the things that make you the happiest.

If you know someone who is exhibiting symptoms or who seems like may need help, be the support system they may need to get their journey started. Offer to meet for coffee or a meal and lend an open mind and heart to them.

Here are some other meaningful ways to conquer mental health disorder:

WHO also shares that prevention begins with better understanding:

Much can be done to help build mental resilience from an early age to help prevent mental distress and illness among adolescents and young adults, and to manage and recover from mental illness. Prevention begins with being aware of and understanding the early warning signs and symptoms of mental illness. Parents and teachers can help build life skills of children and adolescents to help them cope with everyday challenges at home and at school. Psychosocial support can be provided in schools and other community settings and of course training for health workers to enable them to detect and manage mental health disorders can be put in place, improved or expanded.

Investment by governments and the involvement of the social, health and education sectors in comprehensive, integrated, evidence-based programmes for the mental health of young people is essential. This investment should be linked to programmes to raise awareness among adolescents and young adults of ways to look after their mental health and to help peers, parents and teachers know how to support their friends, children and students. This is the focus for this year’s World Mental Health Day.

We are not alone in this mental health struggle. Most people you know may be struggling with something so you should never be afraid to ask for help or to reach out to others if you think they need help. Never feel ashamed or embarrassed because YOU ARE WORTH IT!

Most importantly, if only for today, make it a point to spread awareness about mental health disorders.

For more helpful information on the mental health, visit World Health Organization and take a look at their Mental Health Action Plan.


If you or anyone you know is feeling suicidal, contact National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800) 273-8255

The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.

h/t: World Health Organization

Study Focusing On Bisexual People Shows Hidden Issues With Health, Poverty, And Discrimination

A new report by the Center for American Progress (otherwise known as CAP) revealed that bisexual people face poverty, mental health issues, and identity issues at higher degrees than their lesbian and gay peers.

The study was conducted with the belief that there isn’t enough data out there concerning just bisexual people. Instead, bisexual people are often tied together with their gay and lesbian peers. Yet, the bisexual experience is unique and different from these two groups.

As such, CAP conducted a survey in which it asked questions of 1,864 LGBTQ adults (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender, queer, asexual) and 1,007 heterosexual and cisgender/nontransgender adults.

Once the data was collected, the results were specifically separated by groups defined by sexuality. This is how CAP was able to compare the results concerning bisexual people to their heterosexual and homosexual peers.

As for the results, they found that bisexual+ people, as pansexual and queer people who have experienced attraction to more than one sex were merged with bisexual respondents, reported several unfortunate circumstances.

First, Bi+ men were four times as likely to report living in poverty compared to straight men. The numbers surmounted to 24% Bi+ men reporting a life in poverty, 12% gay men, and 6% straight men. Meanwhile, Bi+ women were at 21%, 13% of lesbians reported the same, and 14% of straight women also reported as such.

In addition, Bi+ women were less likely to report that they were currently working. 53% of bi women said so while 76% of lesbian said they were employed, and 65% of straight women said the same. For the men, the numbers were a little closer with Bi+ men at 65%, Gay men at 70%, and Straight men at 78%.

In addition, Bi+ women were more likely to use public benefits like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Medicaid than their straight and lesbian peers. 27% and 21% of Bi+ women said they were using SNAP and Medicaid respectively while only 10% of Lesbians said they were using either program. Also, 10% and 16% of Straight women said they were using SNAP and Medicaid.

Sadly, the news doesn’t end there as Bi+ men reported worse mental health outcomes than straight men and bi+ women reported experiencing poorer physical and mental health outcomes than straight women and lesbians combined.

Lastly, the study shared the fact that bisexual erasure plays a part in the poor experiences of bisexual people too. While bisexual people with a partner of a different gender may not experience discrimination in the way that their gay or lesbian peers do, they experience bisexual erasure through feelings of shame or isolation.

It is important to note that the data found in this survey is not statistically significant because of the sample size. That said, they give an idea into a community that is often erased or combined with other groups.

What’s really important about this survey is the fact that it teaches us to separate bisexual people from the rest of the LGBTQ community when it comes time to research. Their responses and experiences are unique enough to warrant individual attention.

'Queer Eye' Star Karamo Brown Opens Up About His Past Suicide Attempt

Queer Eye star Karamo Brown got very real with his millions of followers on Thursday by revealing that he attempted suicide many years ago.

The 37-year-old shared his story on Instagram that was accompanied by a video of a performer singing the words "...Said I Made It... anybody been through the storm anybody been through the rain...” as it related to what he was talking about. 

"Today in 2006 I was sitting on my couch alone, attempting to commit suicide. In my mind life was over for me," Karamo revealed. "But I got mental health support & worked each day to believe again. And here I am happy & healthy. I made it and If you’re going through something you can make it too!" He also include the number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at the bottom of the post (1-800-273-8255).

The comments section from that post was flooded with supportive comments for the charismatic television star. "I had no idea- thank you for sharing. You are amazing," and "i’m so glad you posted this, it’s so inspiring and you have opened so many eyes and helped others feel comfortable in their own skin , so thank you" were just two of the many left for him after he bravely shared the news.

He followed that initial post up with a video message later on in the day. “Hey friends… today in 2006 I did attempt to commit suicide,” he began. “You know, I was in a very dark place. I just felt like life could not get any better, everything that was happening to me was never going to change, and I tried to take my own life.”

He continued, “And if it wasn’t for my best friends Raymond and Tre calling the ambulance, getting me off the couch, I probably would not be here today.”

He went on to discuss the prevalence of mental health struggles going on in today's world. “I want you all to know that as you see me on Queer Eye helping people with their mental health… it’s because it’s important to me… because I know so many of us suffer from mental health issues and we just don’t know where to turn,” he said.

“Every day it seems darker and darker, but I want you to know that things do get better,” he shared. “If you get help and you do the work daily, your life can change. I’m living proof of that. And if you know someone in your life who’s going through it, reach out to them. You could be their support.”

If you or anyone you know if suffering, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255

 

Men Who Feel Isolated, Hopeless Are More Likely to Engage in High-Risk Sex Acts, Study Shows

It stands to reason that someone with a pervasively negative mental outset might engage in high-risk activities. A recent Chinese-American study of men who have sex with men (MSM) offers some numbers to back this up.

Pink News drew our attention to a report filed by experts from California and the Chinese cities of Nanjing and Beijing called "Depression, Loneliness, and Sexual Risk-Taking Among HIV-Negative/Unknown Men Who Have Sex with Men in China."

The study observed 507 Chinese men, and those who reported feeling lonely were 67% more likely to have receive bareback anal sex.

Of the subjects, 26.8 and 35.5% reported moderate-to-severe symptoms of depression and feeling lonely, respectively.

These depressed individuals also were twice as likely to feel “hopelessness for the future,” and more likely to bear internalized homophobia.

The study concludes that:

“MSM in China have significant rates of depression and loneliness. HIV prevention efforts should address the mental health needs of Chinese MSM such as providing safe environments for social support and role models.”

Note: This is not a slut-shaming study. No one is bashing bareback sex here or challenging anyone’s right to it. This is merely a thoroughly researched report that makes a connection between high-risk behaviors and mental health.

Mental health as a factor in gay and bisexual men becoming HIV-Positive has been a hot topic in recent years.

Somewhere between 30 and 60 % of LGBTQ+ people suffer from depression and/or anxiety at some point in life. That’s between 1.5-2.5% higher than straight, gender-conforming counterparts.

h/t: Pink News

Report: Archives of Sexual Behavior

Laverne Cox Tweets Open Letter About Mental Health

Trigger Warning: Suicide, Depression

Laverne Cox is an American actress and LGBTQ+ advocate known for her role in Netflix’s Orange is the New Black and becoming the first openly transgender person to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award in the acting category. She is known as a trailblazer throughout the transgender community and has won numerous awards for her activism and LGBTQ+ awareness. She is the first openly transgender person to be on the cover of Time, be nominated for an Emmy in the acting category, win and Emmy for executive producing, and have a wax statue in Madame Tussauds.

This past week, Laverne Cox opened up about her mental health issues in a lengthy post on Twitter. Highlights from her post included:

“Many years ago when I was contemplating suicide, I was planning to have a note in my pocket at the time of my death and several other notes in my home which would state my name, my preferred gender pronouns, and that I should be referred to as a woman in my death.”

She also wrote:

“Being misgendered and deadnamed in my death felt like it would be the ultimate insult to the psychological and emotional injuries I was experiencing daily as a black trans woman in New York City, the injuries that made me want to take my own life.”

In the same post she explained that she had stopped tweeting about trans murders because she wanted to stop living in a space of “death, murder, and the injustices that lead to those deaths.”

The full tweet can be found below:

 

 

h/t: The Hollywood Reporter, The Wrap

 

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7 free and confidential support. To reach them, call 1-800-273-8255.

New Survey Says Over Half of LGBTQ Youth Have An Eating Disorder

The Trevor Project says over half of LGBTQ youth have an eating disorder.

The Trevor Project, the National Eating Disorders Association, and Reasons Eating Disorder Center joined together to conduct a survey.

They asked 1,305 people between the ages of 13 and 24 about the topic of eating disorders and body issues. Each one of the US based respondents also identified as LGBTQ people.

The report found that 54% of respondents said that they were diagnosed with an eating disorder. Compare that to the reported 5% of straight youth and you’ll see that we have a problem here.

Other results were:

  • 71% of Trans people who identified as straight were diagnosed with some sort of eating disorder. Also, anorexia was the most common eating disorder within the group.
  • 58% of LGBTQ youth who were diagnosed with an eating disorder considered suicide at one point.
  • Half of LGBTQ youth who weren’t diagnosed with an eating disorder say that they think they have one anyway.

As you might imagine, both the Trevor Project and the National Eating Disorders Association had some thoughts on these results.

Trevor Project CEO and Executive Director Amit Paley says they were stunned by the numbers.

“We need to do far more to help the alarming number of LGBTQ youth living with eating disorders and struggling with thoughts of suicide,” he added.

Clair Mysko, the CEO of NEDA, also said:

“The results make it clear that troubling numbers of LGBTQ youth are affected by eating disorders and self-harm. Together, we are working to raise awareness and put live-saving resources into the hands of those in need. It’s time to get real about these issues and ensure that everyone has access to the support they deserve.”