Wanting to join Working Well Trust?
2 Months ago by Jason Armstrong
In the UK and many other parts of the world, June is Pride month. This is a month that honours and celebrates the struggles and achievements of the LGBTQIA+ community. Many cities mark this month with a Pride parade, where queer individuals, charities, social groups and businesses celebrate their identities and protest against discriminatory legislation.
As the focus for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is anxiety, we thought about the link between being queer and having anxiety.
While being queer does not automatically mean you will experience anxiety. Between 30% and 60% of queer people have reported having anxiety at some point in their lives.
There are countless examples of how a queer identity can intersect with anxiety. Homophobia or transphobia from others may cause someone to feel anxious in social situations or around particular people in case they are discriminated against again. The process of coming out can be extremely anxiety-inducing, particularly if you are unsure about how people are going to react. If you live in a country where having a same-sex partner is illegal, having to conceal a romantic relationship could cause a lot of anxiety out of fear of being persecuted. A trans person may feel anxious for fear of being misgendered by their work colleagues. The list goes on.
Another explanation of anxiety in the LGBTQIA+ community is something called minority stress. Anyone in any type of oppressed minority has an increased risk of all types of mental health issues, particularly stress and anxiety. This can be anything from microaggressions, prejudiced actions and statements, and discrimination to the extremes of trauma. LGBTQIA+ individuals who have experienced threats, assault or other traumatic events are more likely to have anxiety as a result.
When left unmanaged, anxiety can lead to or worsen other issues like poor work performance, depression, substance use, chronic pain, insomnia, social isolation and suicidal ideation. This is why it is essential to ensure everyone has access to the mental health support they need. This might be learning self-help techniques, practicing mindfulness, meditation, taking medication, having therapy or even just more social support. Adjustments at work and staff training can also help to promote awareness of these issues and reduce discrimination.
Pride month is a time to celebrate the queer community, but it is also a reminder to be aware of the struggles they face, both externally and internally, and provide support. Whether you are part of the community or not, it is worth sharing these support resources if you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety.
Support for LGBTQIA+ mental health – Mind
LGBTQ+ mental health support – NHS
Anxiety in the LGBTQ+ Community – Anxiety UK
LGBTIQ+ people: statistics – Mental Health Foundation