LGBTQ+ Pride Month 2022 - Every Community Deserves Access to Healthcare
June is also National LGBTQ+ Pride Month, designed to bring awareness to the global struggle for LGBTQ+ rights and acceptance, as well as celebrate the culture and influence that gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, non-binary, and queer people have had throughout history. Here in New Mexico, this is a month when the community can come together and rally around LGBTQ+ people, advocating for equal treatment, access, and rights.
This June, The Dose of Wellness Campaign seeks to bring awareness to the mental healthcare needs of the LGBTQ+ community that often go underserved or ignored due to stigma and targeted oppression. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults are at more than twice the risk of experiencing mental health challenges like depression and anxiety than heterosexual adults, and transgender people are almost four times more likely to have mental health struggles than cisgender adults.
A recent study by The Trevor Project found that when trans youth have access to gender-affirming spaces such as at school, at home, or in extra-curricular activities, it directly benefits their mental health and lowers rates of attempted suicide. In fact, when LGBTQ+ youth have at least one supportive parent in their lives, it reduces the rate of attempted suicide by 40%. This study also further proved how life-saving it is when trans and non-binary youth have their pronouns used and respected, as well as being able to change their name and gender on legal documents. Finally, the findings from the study showed that access to healthcare options that affirmed their gender identity, such as hormone therapy, is significantly related to lower rates of depression, suicidal thoughts, and suicide attempts among transgender and nonbinary youth.
Hope and help are coming to New Mexico, and LGBTQ+ individuals including youth will have access to the new 988 Lifeline coming this summer on July 16th. Any mental health challenge is a reason to call the new 988 number when it launches, and the new 988 number will provide real-time, confidential access to support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Anyone is encouraged to call 988 if they are having a hard time managing difficult emotions, worried about alcohol or drug use, or if they have something on their mind that is troubling them and they need support with.
This month and beyond, Dose of Wellness invites you to take the pledge to be aware of your LGBTQ+ friends and family members’ lived experiences, needs, and struggles. We encourage you to approach conversations with your co-workers, neighbors, and friends about how to become allies and inclusive of LGBTQ+ individuals. Together we can work towards equality for all and build healthy, thriving communities.