Sexual identity and gender identity are core parts of who we are. While there is no one-size-fits all, there are some shared experiences that often go along with being part of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender nonconforming, queer, questioning+ (LBGTQ+) community. Since mental health touches all aspects of life, it also overlaps with gender and sexual identity. Whether you identify as LGBTQ+ yourself or love someone who does, read on to learn more about LGBTQ+ mental health. 

What is LGBTQ+ mental health?

Mental Health is your general sense of emotional, psychological, and cognitive wellbeing (more info here). Everyone has mental health, but it can look different based on cultural factors and social group identities like sexual and gender identity. Focusing on LGBTQ+ mental health allows us to consider some of these unique experiences.

It’s important to stress that difficulties related to identifying as a sexual minoritized or gender diverse individual can be challenging not because of these identities themselves, but because of the broader societal fabric that creates a difficult environment to thrive in. Individuals who identify as LGBTQ+ are often affected by the daily realities of heterosexism, cisgenderism, homophobia, transphobia, cisnormativity, and heteronormativity. Many also experience racism, classism, ableism, sexism, and/or xenophobia. These each can create experiences of discrimination-based rejection, which impact self-esteem, mood, career, relationships, and of course, mental health. Despite these systemic-level challenges, there are countless examples of thriving within and because of LBGTQ+ communities, which we’ll also highlight here.

Tips for fostering LGBTQ+ mental health

Difficult experiences provide an opportunity to adapt and develop strengths. Below are some tips on how to do this. Take a look, and consider what feels most important to you and how you could start practicing today.

The Skill


Community support can offer a source of support and resistance. It can buffer against the effects of the difficulties listed above.


Queer communities exist both online and offline, often for particular subgroups of identities or cultures. Try finding a community in whatever form suits you and see where it takes you!



To contend with everything outlined above, the urge to shrink yourself is understandable. Finding spaces where your authentic self is appreciated will help you feel freer and better able to attain your goals.


Being authentically yourself can mean dressing in a certain way, speaking out about certain political beliefs, or being comfortable with a partner. Seek others who are already doing that and let them inspire you to do the same.


As a result of internalizing negative messages from our culture, LGBTQ+ individuals can sometimes be too hard on themselves. Self-love is the antidote to this.


See the Mental Health Coalition’s Roadmap to Self-Love.


Letting yourself be guided by your own instinct rather than others’ expectations will allow you to feel freer. You’ll also be more likely to flex your resilience.


Reflect on how you feel emotionally and cognitively throughout the day. This will give you practice tuning in to yourself and your own instincts.


Seeing yourself represented is affirming and fosters mental wellbeing. It can also serve as a reminder that your experiences are valid and important.


Find content that represents your experience and takes into account factors like race, culture, class, and ability status. This could be in TV, art, music, books, movies, or podcasts.

Suggestions: OOS


It can be exhausting to see the lives and rights of LGBTQ+ community members put in jeopardy or denied. Sometimes the best form of self-protection is a break from this content.


Allow yourself to have a break from social media for a scheduled period of time each week. You can also edit your settings to limit the amount of time you spend on social media each day. Use this extra time to do something that makes you feel refreshed or rested.



Recognize your strengths and take a moment to appreciate them. This can be difficult and takes regular practice.


Try making a list of qualities you like about yourself, your community, or skills that you’d like to work towards. Sometimes when you’re not feeling your best, looking back at this list can help remind you of the things you’re proud of and promote self-love and self-esteem.


Sometimes, especially if you are experiencing clinical mental health concerns, support from a professional is important. This can be scary, but there are accessible ways to do it.


Create a plan to find a licensed mental health clinician by looking up local mental health organizations, the mental health department of hospitals, or online therapist directories. This can be an overwhelming process, so take it one step at a time. You might also check out your local LGBTQ center, where you might be able to find low cost and affirming providers.

Tips on what to look for in a therapist: DBSA


If you still have questions, that’s ok. Remember that this is just a start to looking at LGBTQ+ mental health, and you can find a list of resources specific to the LGBTQ+ community here

If you would like to learn more about mental health or additional social group identities, be sure to also check out the Mental Health Coalition’s Resource Library

Resource Library

More Resources for LGBTQ+ Folks:


If you or a friend need urgent assistance, call 911 immediately, or take your friend directly to the emergency room. If you feel it’s safe, stay with your friend, or find someone to stay with them until help arrives.

Call 911


You are never alone. Help is always available. For immediate support 24/7, reach out to the Crisis Text Line by texting COALITION to 741741, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988. It’s free and it’s highly confidential, unless it’s essential to contact emergency services to keep you or your friend safe.


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