The LGBTQA Community and Suicidal Thoughts: What to Do
People who are part of the LGBTQA community are more at-risk for suicide than other groups. This statistic is the result of social rejection and isolation, addiction, and related circumstances. Of course, this does not mean you should accept your suicidal thoughts. Immediate action should be taken if you find yourself experiencing symptoms of depression, suicidal thoughts, or suicidal tendencies. If you’re struggling with severe depression, self harm (such as cutting, hair pulling, or skin picking) or suicidal ideation, here are a few ways to start the process of recovery.
Reach Out to Loved Ones
Even today, many families choose to reject their LGBTQA family members. This action can be very damaging to those experiencing the rejection and is often one of the reasons LGBTQA people become depressed. If your family has responded to your identity with love and acceptance, reach out to them. Share your feelings and let them know that you are thinking about suicide and need someone to talk to. Odds are, they want nothing more than to help you feel better.
If your family has not yet found it in themselves to unconditionally love their relatives, seek help from friends. Your friends are the family you get to choose and want you to be happy. So reach out, don’t feel as though you are burdening them with your problems. Give them a chance to help.
Find a Safe Space
A common problem faced by many LGBTQA people is feeling unsafe and unwelcome. In public, many people will not acknowledge your identity. They will assume you’re straight, mock you for being with your partner, or even behave aggressively. The public space does not feel safe and being unable to feel at home in your city or neighborhood is something that can easily trigger depression.
You need to find a place where you can be surrounded by people who will love, accept, and respect you. Try speaking with others in the community who may know alternative safe spaces.
Counseling is the single most important thing you can do to combat your suicidal thoughts or actions. A psychologist with experience in LGBTQA issues can be extraordinarily helpful in a number of ways. Talk therapy is the main benefit, offering a calm, safe environment to talk about your issues.
However, your therapist may also be able to refer you to safe spaces, LGTBQA-friendly social programs, and ways to boost your mood at home. A good counselor with experience in your community can be a wealth of information, but talk therapy is not your only option.
If talk therapy isn’t for you, there is a wonderfully wide variety of alternative therapies. Exercise therapy, group therapy, or even dog therapy are just a few options.
Though depression, suicidal thoughts, and addiction are all too common in the LGBTQA community, there is always hope. The people you love are there to help you and want nothing more than to have a part in improving your mental health. Though they may be hard to find, safe spaces do exist, and finding somewhere you can be yourself is hugely beneficial.
Lastly, counseling is always the best way for you to tackle your problems. A well-trained therapist will offer support, advice, and resources to make life better, happier, and easier. Don’t put treatment off. If you are having thoughts about suicide, seek help immediately. Things can only get better from there.
Caroline Hampton is a parent and teacher. She created OpenEducators.org to provide fun, engaging educational resources so that teachers and parents always have access to excellent learning materials for the children in their care.
Image via Pixabay by Flachovatereza