WMHD Blog- Kate Smith

The fact that being LGBT+ and mentally ill go hand in hand is a troubling reality - but not a surprising one. Discrimination, abandonment, isolation, and trauma are so often at the forefront of LGBT+ experiences, and even the act of being openly queer when you are unsure of how it will be received can be daunting and emotionally draining in itself. So it is no surprise that studies indicate LGBT+ individuals are at a higher risk of poor mental health, yet this issue is seldom addressed within our spaces. LGBT+ events habitually revolve around alcohol. Jokes referencing depression slip into our day to day conversation. The words 'mental illness' regularly get caught in my throat the very same way 'bisexual' once did. It's apparent that frank discussions on our mental health struggles frequently go unheard; but this is changing. With the increase of LGBT+ centred mental health charities and events specifically addressing these concerns within our community, our tendency to shy away from this topic is slowly but surely being overcome. Mental illness is another one of the many things that connects us, and it should not be met with shame, but with acceptance and support. As a community built on courage, it is important we start to recognise the courage in speaking out on and seeking out help with our mental health struggles.