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LGBTQ+ Mental Health Resources

Growing up is a natural and often challenging time of exploration and identity formation in the life of a pre-teen, teen or young adult. Yet this can be an especially difficult or even painful time for individuals who identify as LGBTQ+. 

While nothing about being LGBTQ+ is inherently harmful for mental health, LGBTQ+ individuals may not fit the dominant culture’s expectations—and thus experience a greater degree of stigma, trauma and stress (often called “minority stress”). Society tends to assume heterosexuality and cisgender identities or, at the least, accepts notions of binary gender and sexual identity, denying a broader spectrum of experience beyond man or woman, gay or straight. 

Tied in with minority stress is outright discrimination and a lack of access to appropriate services and properly trained professionals. This includes being denied services, not having relationships recognized as legitimate, needing to educate providers about identity or having identity questioned or denied. LGBTQ+ individuals worry about potential breaches of confidentiality by school, work or healthcare professionals. For LGBTQ+ youth, this includes being discovered by parents and other authorities. 

There is now overwhelming evidence of discrimination and unequal treatment of members of the LGBTQ+ population in nearly all aspects of life, affecting their financial, mental and physical wellbeing.

Understanding LGBTQ+ language and terms

Becoming familiar with the language and terms used by LGBTQ+ communities can help families and others provide compassion, support and encouragement to those who are too frequently stigmatized or discriminated against as members of society. 

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