Mental Health and the LGBT+ Community

What is mental health?

Our mental health is something everybody has just like our physical health. We might be clear on what good physical mental health but being mentally healthy isn’t about being happy all the time or never being afraid. Good mental health means being able to think, feel and react in ways that you need and want to live your life. As such, if your mental health becomes worse you may struggle to cope with what you’re thinking, feeling or reacting to things. Mental ill health can be experienced differently for different people and there are many different types of mental illness. Most of us might have some experience of depression or anxiety in ourselves or others but there are many other diagnosis’s such as bipolar or schizophrenia.

Mental health awareness week

Hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, Mental Health Awareness Week is taking place from 10-16 May 2021. The theme set by the Mental Health Foundation this year is 'Nature' because of the positive impact it has had on people’s mental health through the pandemic.

Mental Health Awareness Week started 21 years ago and is all about starting conversations about mental health and the things in our daily lives that can affect it. Mental health awareness helps break down the barriers people can face when struggling with their mental health. A lot of people can find it hard to seek help or feel ashamed about how they are feeling, by raising awareness we can show people that there is not a stigma around their mental health and that they deserve help and support.

How might being LGBTQ effect my mental health

Anyone can experience a mental health problem. You might think it has nothing to do with your identity as LGBTIQ+ or you might think it has everything to do with it. It can sometimes be hard to tell. People who are LGBTIQ+ are statically more likely to struggle with mental ill health, but that doesn’t mean that your experiences will be the same. Being LGBTIQ+ does not cause these problems and the reasons why are varied and complicated. However, they might be because you have faced homophobia, biphobia and transphobia, stigma or social isolation or exclusion. For many LGBTIQ+ people they describe always feeling different to others, this can be hard to make sense of and can also have an impact on our mental wellbeing.

Helping my mental health: the 5 Ways to wellbeing

Everyone has different experiences of mental health and their ways of coping will be different too. Yet, all of us can find that to live a mentally healthy life, we need certain things in our lives that keep us connected to others, the world around us and who we are. These can be summed up in the 5 ways to wellbeing: take notice, keep learning, connect to others, keep active and give. Each of these can be done in many different ways to suit your own life and interests.

5 ways to wellbeing in nature

For this year’s mental health awareness week, the theme is nature. So, this is an example about how you might keep in touch with nature as part of your 5 ways to wel