Pride Month 2023!
Not only during this month, but throughout the year, let’s remember that the LGBTQ+ communities face greater consequences where discrimination and stigma are concern. This can and will severely impact individuals who struggle with not only mental health related issues but also issues related to substance abuse. In fact, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), substance use disorders affect 20%-30% of the LGBTQ+ population, compared to only 9% of the population as a whole.
The most common reason that LGBTQ+ individuals suffer from higher rates of mental health disorders and resulting substance abuse is because of the discrimination and prejudice they face as a minority group. People in the LGBTQ+ community are more likely to experience social stigma, rejection, and ostracism from society, and even from their families. These homophobic, negative experiences give rise to mental health issues that can push them toward substance use. In fact, a 2017 study reported that 58% of the LGBTQ+ youths surveyed listed discrimination as one of the main reasons for their drug and alcohol use.
Remember, you can’t go wrong with simply being kind to someone. A smile, a ‘hello’, even lending someone a shoulder to expel their feelings can save someone’s life. Everyone you meet is struggling with something, even if they don’t show it.
Don’t forget KNOWLEDGE = POWER, when we know better, we do better. Our actions can and will impact others, positive or negative. It is up to you how you want to represent yourself.