Image by Harry Quan
What needs to change
 Harry Quan / Unsplash 
 
Leaps and bounds have been made in openly discussing gender and sexuality over the past few decades. But even so, the LGBTQ+ community continues to face challenges that can directly impact the rate at which mental health issues manifest among them.

The following statistics are from a recent report by Stonewall into LGBTQ+ mental health. 
52%
of LGBT people said they've
experienced depression in the past year
1 in 8 
LGBT people aged 18-24 said they’ve attempted to take their own life in the last year
46%

of trans people have thought about taking their own life in the last year – 31 per cent of LGB people who aren’t trans said the same

41%

of non-binary people

20%

of LGBT women

12%

of GBT men

said they harmed themselves in the last year

1 in 6

LGBT people said they drank alcohol almost every day over the last year

1 in 4

LGBT people have witnessed discriminatory or negative remarks against LGBT people by healthcare staff

Share these statistics on social media and lets  #ChangeTheConversation  about LGBT+ mental health
Read the full report from Stonewall here
Barbara Gittings_edited.jpg
Take pride
 Blaise Freeman / Flickr 
 
Our understanding of LGBTQ+ mental health has a long and intertwined history with the evolution of LGBTQ+ rights. 

Here, we celebrate some of the key figures in the evolution of our understanding of LGBTQ+ mental health, from the very first pioneers in the field, to those still challenging stigmas to this day.  
Magnus Hirschfeld.jpeg
Magnus Hirschfeld
 Wellcome Trust / Click here for license details  
Magnus Hirschfeld was a German physician who is widely considered to be one of the first advocates for homosexual and transgender rights. His work in the field of sexology redefined Germany's understanding of homosexuality and would later influence understanding around the world. Hirschfeld was also the founder of the world's first gender identity clinic. 
Barbara Gittings_edited.jpg
Barbara Gittings
 Blaise Freeman / Flickr 
Prior to the New York City Stonewall riots of 1969 – a key part of the gay liberation movement – Barbara Gittings was challenging the status quo of how homosexuality was understood and defined. In 1964, while editor of the lesbian rights-focused periodical the Ladder, Billings published an editorial criticising a medical report that described homosexuality as a disease. Her activism would eventually lead to the American Psychiatric Association (APA) moving away from defining homosexuality as a mental illness entirely.
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Dr Richard Isay
 New York Times 
Despite such a positive step by the APA, stigma surrounding homosexuality remained strong. Dr Richard Isay was one of the first high-profile medical professionals to encourage his patients to accept their sexuality. His work, as well as his eventual coming out as gay, would see him and his practices shunned by his peers. That is until he launched a lawsuit in partnership with the American Civil Liberties Union against the APA that would lead to a landmark decision in preventing discrimination against homosexual professionals.
Eric Yarbrough
 ericyarbrough.com 

Author of Transgender Mental Health, which is aimed at educating clinicians on addressing needs specific to the transgender and gender-nonconforming community, and former president/director of several organisations supporting LGBTQ+ mental health, Yarbrough has not only been influential in improving the treatment of LGBTQ+ mental health, but also continues to practice medically, providing a direct impact on the lives of those he treats.

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Dr Diane Ehrensaft
 UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital 

The founding member and Director of Mental health for the Child and Adolescent Gender Center, Dr Ehrensaft's research on gender-nonconforming and transgender children and youth, LGBTQ+ families, and psychological issues for families using assisted reproductive technology have been particularly influential for the transgender community. As she currently still practices, her direct influence can be felt by many in the transgender community and beyond.

Know of any other trailblazers you think should share the Spotlight? Let us know!
 
Image by Norbu GYACHUNG
Life as LGBTQ+
 Norbu Gyachung / Unsplash 
Working together with our community, we present to you articles and real-life stories of people with direct or indirect experience of LGBTQ+ mental health issues. 
Have a story you think could help others?
Share your story and help others realise they are not alone 
Contact our team if you're unsure of how or what to write
Image by Sharon McCutcheon
You are not alone
 Sharon McCutcheon / Unsplash 
 
If you or someone you know from the LGBTQ+ community is being affected by mental health issues, there are many organisations that can help.
Stonewall
In their words: At Stonewall, we stand for lesbian, gay, bi, trans, queer, questioning and ace (LGBTQ+) people everywhere. We imagine a world where all LGBTQ+ people are free to be themselves and we can live our lives to the full. 
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MindOut
In their words: MindOut is a mental health service run by and for lesbians, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer people. We work to improve the mental health and wellbeing of all LGBTQ communities and to make mental health a community concern.
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LGBT Foundation
In their own words: Established in 1975, LGBT Foundation exists to support the needs of the diverse range of people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans. We believe in a fair and equal society where all LGBT people can achieve their full potential. #EqualityWins underpins much of what we do and we aim to be; ‘here if you need us.’