Proud Support
I have a few members of my extended family who identify as gay or lesbian, including my daughter, whom I love with all my heart, and who makes me proud every day.
It’s important to note that identification as LGBTQ+ is NOT a mental illness, but many LGBTQ+ people experience mental health struggles.
When you look at the risk factors, it’s not hard to understand why.
Risk Factors in LGBTQ+ Mental Health

Coming Out: Being open about one’s LGBTQ+ identity can promote mental well-being, but it can also be challenging for individuals in unsupportive environments, particularly youth.

Rejection: Coming out can be difficult or traumatic. LGBTQ+ people may experience rejection from family, close friends, workplaces, or faith communities. 40% of LGBTQ+ adults have experienced rejection from a family member or close friend, and 86% of LGBTQ+ youth reported being harassed or assaulted at school.

Trauma: Homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, bullying, and identity-based shame can be traumatic for LGBTQ+ people. This contributes to a significantly heightened risk for developing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Substance Use: LGBTQ+ adults are nearly twice as likely as heterosexual adults to experience a substance use disorder. Transgender individuals are almost four times as likely as cisgender individuals to experience a substance use disorder.

Homelessness: LGBTQ+ youth and young adults have a 120% higher risk of experiencing homelessness, often the result of family rejection or discrimination. This risk is especially high among Black LGBTQ+ youth. LGBTQ+ people who are homeless often experience elevated rates of rejection, harassment, and abuse in homeless shelters.

These risk factors for LGBTQ+ individuals contribute to sobering mental health disparities. Take a look below.*

Josselyn employs many therapists who can support those who identify as LGBTQ+, family and friends of LGBTQ+ people, and many themselves identify as LGBTQ+.

You can also learn more by attending Josselyn’s June 29th workshop topic, “Therapists as Allies: Clinical Work with LGBTQ+ Youth.”

I proudly fly a Pride Flag this month in support of my daughter. When I think of our LGBTQ+ family, friends, and clients, I think the song, “This Is Me,” from The Greatest Showman, says it best.


*Thank you to the Illinois Department of Human Services for collecting and curating these statistics.