Gives information about mental health support for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex, queer or questioning (LGBTIQ+).
Mind is here for anyone experiencing a mental health problem. But we know that those of us with LGBTIQ+ identities may face extra challenges around getting the right support. And we sometimes have extra needs or concerns.
The tips on this page may help.
Remember that different things work for different people at different times. Only try what you feel comfortable with, and try not to put too much pressure on yourself.
It might feel hard to start talking about how you are feeling. But many people find that sharing their experiences can help them feel better. It may be that just having someone listen to you and show they care can help in itself.
Making connections with people who have similar or shared experiences can be really helpful. This could be other people with mental health problems, or other LGBTIQ+ people, or both.
There are lots of different ways that you can do this. For example:
Some of these groups may also organise around other things you have in common. For example:
You can find out more about these options from our pages on peer support. This includes more tips on how to find a group that suits you.
For example, Mind's online peer support community welcomes LGBTIQ+ people. It offers a friendly, non-judgemental space to talk about how you feel.
If you're using the internet, it's important to look after your online wellbeing. See our pages on online mental health for more information.
Some universities and workplaces offer mentoring schemes for LGBTIQ+ people. Each programme differs, but having a mentor can help increase your confidence.
Self-care means things we do for ourselves to help improve our mental and physical health.
Internalised homophobia, biphobia or transphobia might mean you struggle to be kind to yourself. But practising self-care can help boost your self-esteem. We have included some ideas below which may help.
This could be anything from a community project to a hobby group. The important thing is to find an activity you enjoy to help you feel motivated. LGBTQ Meetups is one way you can find such groups.
Volunteering can make you feel better about yourself and less alone. You could volunteer for an organisation supporting the LGBTIQ+ community. Or you could volunteer for any other cause you feel passionately about.
Exercise can help improve your mood. You can exercise by yourself or you could try joining an LGBTIQ+ sports group. You could find a group using Pride Sports' LGBT+ Sports Club Finder. Our pages on physical activity and mental health have more tips.
"I often get asked why I play for a LGBT+ team... it provides a safe space to play and also it allows me to meet like-minded people in a space that doesn't revolve around bars and clubs, which felt at the time to be the only way of meeting gay people."
You might want to use these to cope with difficult feelings. But heavy use of alcohol or drugs can make existing mental health problems worse. It may also contribute to new ones. You can find more information and support from:
Sexual health is an important part of your physical and mental health. Poor mental health can contribute to you taking risks with your sexual health. But this can have long-term health consequences. Living with a long-term health condition can also affect your mental health. For example, depression is more common among those of us living with HIV. You can find more information and support from the LGBT Foundation and the Terrence Higgins Trust.
Your doctor (GP) is there to help you with your mental health as well as your physical health. They could:
Find out more about how to talk to your doctor in our pages on seeking help for a mental health problem.
Opening up to a doctor about your personal thoughts and feelings isn't easy for anyone. Being LGBTIQ+ can make it feel even harder. There are lots of reasons to not want to come out as LGBTIQ+ to your doctor when you talk to them about your mental health. And lots of reasons you might feel anxious about what will happen if you do.
You don't have to tell your doctor that you're LGBTIQ+ to get their help. But if you do, they they might find it easier to get you the right support.
If you do decide to tell them, you could rehearse what you will say first with someone you trust. An LGBTIQ+ helpline such as Switchboard could also help you practise this conversation.
Unfortunately, you might not get the help you need right away. Bad experiences of healthcare staff can be discouraging. But no matter your background, sexuality or identity, you deserve support.
Our page on facing and overcoming barriers when seeking help has some more tips. It also tells you how you can complain about bad treatment.
Specialist organisations exist that provide mental health support to LGBTIQ+ people. Services they may provide include:
Many of these services employ staff or recruit volunteers that identify as LGBTIQ+.
To find services in your area, you could try:
You can also find details of more organisations who offer mental health advice, support and services to LGBTIQ+ people on our useful contacts page.
“I needed somewhere where I could be open about being trans and be open about mental health.”
Talking therapies involve talking to a trained professional about your thoughts, feelings and behaviour. They can help you manage and cope with:
You can find a therapist through:
See our page on how to find a therapist for more information.
Your relationship with your therapist is an important factor in how successful any therapy is for you.
If you would prefer to work with a therapist from the LGBTIQ+ community, it's best to mention it during your first contact with the service. Unfortunately, not all services will be able to match you with an LGBTIQ+ therapist. One of the LGBTIQ+ services listed in our useful contacts page might be able to help.
But even if your therapist does not identify as LGBTIQ+ themselves, they may still have experience of helping people with similar problems to you.
As an LGBTIQ+ person, you have the same rights to healthcare as anyone else. It is illegal for UK healthcare providers to discriminate based on:
If you think you have been discriminated against, there are things you can do to challenge it. You can find out more from:
This information was published in February 2020. We will revise it in 2023.
References and bibliography available on request.
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