We here at IFHP focus a lot of our energy on bringing mental health concerns to light, and most often our spotlight shines on veteran- and service member-related issues. However, too many people in the LGBTQ community suffer the same maladies without the same recognition. June is Pride Month, but due to the pandemic, all of the typical celebrations have been cancelled. This blow to recognition comes on top of months of social isolation and, in some cases, being stuck at home with family members who refuse to accept LGBTQ people or are even openly hostile toward them. It's more important than ever to have a support network and to find healthy ways of coping with anxiety, depression, and isolation.
The Trevor Project and Harvard Medical School highlight many of the challenges that COVID-19 presents to the LGBTQ community. The loss of work, supportive community, health care access, and legal access have added major stress to an already at-risk community.
The Trevor Project reports an increase in crisis contact volume from LGBTQ youth, sometimes doubling from the pre-COVID norm. NPR recently told the story of college students returning from their open and accepting dorm lives to closed-minded and rejecting families. The federal government is trying to remove LGBTQ non-discrimination protections from the Affordable Care Act. States are still introducing anti-LGBTQ legislation.
However, it's not all bad. The fourth link above highlighted more wins than losses in defeating hateful and bigoted legislation at the state level. Support networks are there to help. The internet has made it easier than ever to keep in touch with friends, family and chosen family. There are a bevy of resources available if you know where to look (and we did some looking - links below).
No matter how you identify or who you love, you never have to suffer alone. Even in these unprecedented times, support is available. It will get better.
Here are some links that may help:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/)
Crisis Text Line (https://www.crisistextline.org/)
The Mental Health Fund (https://www.thementalhealthfund.org/)
International Association for Suicide Prevention (https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres)
The Trevor Project (https://www.thetrevorproject.org/)
Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (https://pflag.org/)
The It Gets Better Project (https://itgetsbetter.org/)
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (https://www.glaad.org/)
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender National Hotline (https://www.glbthotline.org/national-hotline.html)