Gives information about mental health support for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex, queer or questioning (LGBTIQ+).
A good support network helps all of us have higher self-esteem and better mental health. This is especially true for LGBTIQ+ people, who may be facing extra challenges.
This page gives some suggestions on how you can be supportive.
Everyone's experience is different. Try to avoid making assumptions based on what you already know about mental health problems or LGBTIQ+ issues. Instead, ask the person what is going on for them.
Growing up with a different sexual or gender identity means it's likely they have faced negativity. They may feel worried to open up and speak about their experiences. Giving them space to talk is important.
If they don't feel ready to speak to you, you could suggest they call a helpline like Switchboard.
Internalised homophobia, biphobia and transphobia means many LGBTIQ+ people struggle with low self-esteem. It may seem obvious to you that you care about them, but they may not realise this. Try to find ways to show them you care. For example, write them a card, cook them a meal, or take them out somewhere they'd enjoy.
You could reassure your loved one that it's OK to ask for help, and that there is help out there. Even if it's not always easy to find. If they would feel more comfortable using an LGBTIQ+ service, you could help them research one.
See our page on helping someone else seek help for more information.
A range of groups exist to support parents and friends of LGBTIQ+ people. Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (FFLAG) has a list of parent support groups.
Many organisations have advice for anyone looking to support LGBTIQ+ family members or friends. FFLAG has guides for family and friends supporting people who identify as LGBTIQ+.
Our page on types of mental health problems lists our resources on different mental health diagnoses and experiences. All these resources include a page of tips for friends and family.
This information was published in February 2020. We will revise it in 2023.
References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.