You Are Not Defined by a Mental Health Condition

LGBTQ individuals are almost three times more likely than others to experience a mental health condition, such as depression or anxiety. This disturbing fact exists partly because LGBTQ communities face ongoing discrimination and prejudice, not only for their sexual orientation or gender identity, but as a diverse community, many individuals also face racism and prejudice for their ethnicity and culture as well. 

As a result, discrimination towards these communities come from a variety of places, including family members, colleagues, faith leaders, community members, healthcare providers and other institutions. With all of these factors harming the mental health of LGBTQ communities, it is crucial that the stigma surrounding mental illness be removed from the equation.

Eliminating mental health stigma takes the voices of many individuals who are open to sharing their mental health experience or listening to others as they share their story. By doing so, you can help your community know they are not alone. Help to provide a safe space for those who share their journey and start by sharing your own feelings with those who you know will be accepting.

You have a right to be seen, be heard and be healthy in body, mind and spirit. Your voice can help end the dual discrimination and stigmatization that members of LGBTQ communities often face.

*As the project conducted research over the past two years to develop revised messaging and creative materials for the diverse communities in Sacramento County, members of the LGBTQ communities stressed the importance of creating materials that specifically address transgender and gender diverse individuals in the County. The project is currently conducting additional research with local transgender and gender diverse communities to develop tailored messaging and materials, and once completed, there will be a specific page for these valued communities on this site.

Common Mental Illnesses

Embrace

friends and family members who may be living with a mental health condition. Mental illness doesn’t discriminate, but sometimes people do. Your peers or friends may encounter different forms of prejudice and discrimination than you do, and it is important to let them know you can be trusted. Sometimes all it takes is a hug, a call or a positive text.

Mental Health Services

Call 211

For local mental health counseling, support and crisis response services. If you are in crisis or experiencing a life-threatening emergency, call 911.

  • Learn the ways stigma can hurt individuals and families, the resources for help and the ways that different prejudices or backgrounds can further contribute to community- and internalized self-stigma. Understand what individuals and families living with mental health conditions are going through and how support can be provided.
  • Reach out if someone you know is becoming more withdrawn, anxious or isolated. Encourage them to seek help, offer to accompany them to a counseling appointment or just invite them out for coffee. Stay in touch and find ways to provide encouragement, support, hope and help, knowing that they may be facing sources of stigma and prejudice that differ from your own.
  • Look for opportunities to get involved. Use your voice, in person and online, to share your mental health journey and raise awareness about the effects of stigma. It’s not always easy to take a stand, but your courage can help remind and educate others that mental health challenges are real and common, and that LGBTQ communities continue to face persistent barriers to treatment.
  • To learn more about what people with mental health conditions are going through, how support can be provided or to get involved, explore StopStigmaSacramento.org, or call 211 to be referred to culturally competent, recovery-focused mental health services.
Conversation Starter

Hey, it seems like you’ve got a lot on your mind lately. How are you?

I just wanted to say that I am here if you want to talk about anything – Can we get together this week? 

I noticed you have missed a few days of school, and I just wanted to check in with you and see how you are doing.

I haven’t seen you in a while! How have you been?

I know life can feel like a lot sometimes, but if you need someone to talk to, I want you to know I am here.

You’ve seemed a little down lately and I wanted to see how you are doing.

I just want you to know I am here for you if you ever need to talk. You’re my friend and I won’t judge you.

I know things have been hard lately; let me know if you want to talk about it. I’m here for you.

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