Mental Health in the LGBTQ+ Community

Mental Health in the LGBTQ+ Community

June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month, a time to celebrate and honor those in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer community. Pride is celebrated in June in honor of the 1969 Stonewall Uprising, often known as one of the first major demonstrations for gay liberation. At Healthy365, we serve and respect everyone in our local Central Indiana community, no matter your sexual or gender identity, and we also recognize that this population may be in greater need of our services. Let’s explore why mental health should be an important focus for those in the LGBTQ+ community.

Higher rates of mental health issues

According to the American Psychiatric Association, LGBTQ+ individuals are “2.5 times more likely to experience depression, anxiety, and substance misuse compared with heterosexual individuals.” It is very important to note that being LGBTQ+ is not a mental disorder, as recognized by all major professional mental health organizations, but that the stigma and discrimination faced by this population can correlate with higher rates of mental health issues. 

Many LGBTQ+ individuals report that they have experienced discrimination when trying to access health services, and some may put off or avoid healthcare/treatment altogether because of this stigma. People in this community may also have less social support than others, including from family and close friends. This isolation and trauma can have major impacts on mental health, including comorbid disorders such as anxiety, substance misuse, depression, PTSD or suicidal thoughts. 

Marginalized communities within LGBTQ+

Although LGBTQ+ individuals, in general, are more likely to be victims of violence and discrimination, there are even smaller subsections of the community that are at a higher risk of mental health concerns. For example, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), transgender individuals “are almost four times as likely as cisgender individuals to experience a substance use disorder.” 

Further, transgender individuals who identify as Black, Latino, Native American or Mixed Race are at an even higher risk of suicide attempts than the white transgender population. Young people in the LGBTQ+ community also experience higher rates of mental health concerns, with a four times higher rate of suicide attempts for lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth and two times higher for questioning youth compared to straight teens. 

How allies and education can help

Recognizing these statistics is an important first step to helping those in the LGBTQ+ community. If you have a loved one who identifies with a sexual or gender identity that is different from your own, you can actively listen to their needs and offer support wherever you can. Educate yourself on how to be a good ally, including asking respectful questions, taking the LGBTQ+ person’s lead on inclusive language, and asking for preferred pronouns/offering your own. If you make a mistake in how you refer to someone, apologize sincerely and try again. 

Pride celebrations, like our local Indy Pride in Indianapolis, are another great way for LGBTQ+ individuals to connect with others and feel less alone. Increasing visibility is very validating when many in this population may feel isolated within their family or a small town. Feeling connected to a community can have wonderful benefits for positive mental health, so celebrating Pride and the rich history of the LGBTQ+ population, even as an ally, can make a big difference in showing others you care. 

At Healthy365, our Support Navigators are happy to provide a confidential listening ear to our clients and would be honored to connect you or a loved one with an LGBTQ+ affirming mental health professional. Contact us today at 317-468-4231 to learn more about the services we can provide for those struggling with mental health, substance misuse and more. And once again, Happy Pride!

How to Support Someone with Depression

How to Support Someone with Depression

Watching a friend or loved one struggle with a mental health issue like depression can be extremely difficult. But, there are ways that you can help. Working with a Support Navigator at Healthy365 can teach you how to identify and support someone with depression, plus they can connect your loved one to a mental health professional and other local Hancock County resources.

How to tell when someone is depressed

Depression is more than just feeling sad, it is generally an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness and withdrawal from life. The symptoms of depression can vary from person to person, but a few that you might recognize include a persistent negative outlook, a loss of interest in things they once enjoyed, lack of concentration, or a change in appetite or sleep habits (either eating or sleeping too much or too little). 

Someone suffering from depression may also express feelings of guilt, indecisiveness, exhaustion, frustration or a lack of confidence. Depression can be common after a death/loss, major life changes (even seemingly good ones) like a new job or moving, as well as postpartum or prenatal depression/anxiety. Depression is also commonly comorbid with substance use disorder. But depression can also come on without an explicit reason. 

Ways to support someone with depression

If you think someone you love may be showing signs of depression, talk to them as soon as you can. Keep in mind that mental health issues like depression can affect anyone. Just because we can’t always see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there. Checking in on someone can be hard, but it could make all the difference in someone getting the help they need. You can also connect your loved one with a Healthy365 Support Navigator, professionals who are here with a sympathetic ear to provide guidance for identifying local resources such as therapists or support groups. 

One of the best ways to support someone with depression is to remain patient and understanding. Treatment can help those with depression, but it can take time. Encourage your loved one to stick with it and try to offer a listening ear without judgment. Many people with depression may judge themselves harshly, so reminding them of their positive qualities can be very supportive. You can also work to create a lower-stress environment for them by offering assistance with household tasks that may be difficult to manage as they focus on their mental health.

Mental Health FIRST AID Training

If you want more practice and resources for how to identify and support someone with depression, a mental health condition, or a substance misuse problem, check out our Mental Health FIRST AID Training. This groundbreaking eight-hour course gives people the tools to look out for symptoms of common mental health conditions, as well as the best ways to connect someone with appropriate support and resources when necessary. The next Mental Health FIRST AID Training will be taking place on May 18, 2022 from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at Hancock Regional Hospital.

What to do if someone is suicidal 

If you believe that someone is considering suicide or self-harm, it is important to get them the help they need as soon as possible. If you feel you’re at risk of harming yourself or others, call 911 immediately. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 is another free and confidential resource for those in crisis. Additionally, Healthy365 offers a Suicide Prevention Training called QPR, which stands for “Question, Persuade and Refer.” Like CPR, these are three emergency response steps that you can take to help save someone’s life if they are considering self-harm or suicide. 

If you are interested in hosting or attending a QPR class, or need to talk with a Healthy365 Support Navigator about how to support someone with depression, contact us today at (317) 468-4231 or by visiting the Connection Center at 120 W. McKenzie Rd., Suite G in Greenfield. We are always here to help!

Ways to Support Suicide Prevention

Ways to Support Suicide Prevention

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and there are many ways that you can help support this important issue. Mental health conditions and suicidal thoughts are more common than you may realize. In Hancock County, “mental health and suicide” was among the top five concerns of respondents to our 2020 Community Health Needs Assessment. You can help support suicide prevention and those struggling with mental wellness with these steps.

IMPORTANT: If you or someone you know is in immediate risk of self-harm or suicide, call 911 immediately. We also recommend calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or texting the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741) if you prefer text. These services are both free, confidential and available 24/7. 

Take a QPR suicide prevention class

Just like you would take a CPR class to be prepared for an emergency response situation, our QPR suicide prevention training can prepare you to save someone’s life too. QPR stands for “Question, Persuade and Refer,” three steps you can take to support someone who may be considering suicide or self-harm. QPR classes will help you identify the warning signs of suicide in loved ones, friends or coworkers, and how to get them access to resources that can help. Healthy365 offers QPR classes quarterly, and you can sign up for our next training online

Remember the signs of suicide

There are several warning signs of suicide or self-harm that you may be able to identify in people you interact with often. Some of these signs include talking about wanting to die or about being a burden to others. They may also experience feelings of hopelessness, or act more anxious, agitated or reckless with extreme mood swings. Those considering suicide may start using alchohol or drugs more frequently, sleep too much or too little, or withdraw from life and isolate from others. If you notice any of these signs in someone you know, you should get them help right away.

Know who is at risk

Anyone can be at risk for suicide or self-harm, even those who seem “fine” on the outside. Knowing the warning signs of suicide can help in suicide prevention, but it can also help to know the populations who may be at higher risk. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), population groups at greater risk of suicide can include veterans, American Indians, LGBTQ+, young adults, loss and disaster survivors and survivors of a previous suicide attempt. If you have a friend or loved one in one of these categories and notice a change in their behavior, keep an eye out for the early signs of emotional suffering. 

Help reduce mental health stigma

You can also help prevent suicide by reducing the stigma around mental health and wellness. If someone is able to talk about their feelings or get help from a mental health professional early on when they are having a difficult time, it may prevent them from ever getting to the point of contemplating suicide. At Healthy365, you can work with a Support Navigator to connect you or someone you love with resources such as support groups, counseling/therapy and more. We host events like Rise Above It to discuss important mental health concerns and offer coping mechanisms to our local community of teens and adults. You may also consider supporting the Hancock County Mental Health Campaign, a funding effort to bring mental illness and substance abuse to light — and bring an end to darkness and suffering.

Always know that help is available for those in crisis, and you can contact Healthy365 online or at 317-468-4231 for a connection to local mental health resources and more.

The Five Signs of Emotional Suffering

The Five Signs of Emotional Suffering

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, which makes it a good time for a refresher on the five signs of emotional suffering. It is always important to keep an eye out for even subtle changes in your friends, coworkers and loved ones in Hancock County. They may be suffering emotionally without recognizing symptoms, or they may not be ready to ask for help. With the help of Healthy365, we can connect your loved one to the mental health resources they need for their emotional balance. 

1. Personality Changes

Someone in emotional distress may start to behave differently from their usual personality. These changes could be gradual or sudden. People suffering from emotional pain may start to behave in a way that doesn’t align their their usual values or spirituality, or they may just seem different in general. 

2. Uncharacteristically Agitated

People in a cycle of emotional suffering may have more issues with their anger. They may be frequently irritable or seem unable to calm down. If you notice a loved one who is normally even tempered seeming more angry, anxious, agitated or moody, it may be a sign that they need help. In severe situations of emotional distress, some people may even have trouble sleeping or have an explosion of anger over minor problems. 

3. Withdrawal or Isolation

A difficult sign of emotional suffering for loved ones to help manage is withdrawal or isolation. It can be hard to notice other signs if someone starts to pull away from you. But for a person who is normally social, this can also be a sign of distress. Some people will stop taking part in activities that they once found enjoyable, or in extreme cases may even stop showing up to work or school. Be sure to keep in mind the person’s usual social activity (such as introverts) and get help if they start to pull away from their normal support system. 

4. Risky Behavior or Poor Self-Care

If you have a loved one suffering from emotional distress, you may start to notice them neglecting their usual level of self-care. They could stop taking care of personal hygiene, or they could start abusing alcohol or other substances. Risky or self-destructive behavior is an important cry for help in emotional pain, but may also alienate loved ones. 

5. Feeling Overwhelmed or Hopeless

The fifth sign of emotional suffering is the feeling of hopelessness or becoming easily overwhelmed. Especially if the person is generally optimistic, feeling hopeless or depressed is a sign to watch out for. Some people in emotional distress may also feel grief, worthlessness or guilt. In extreme cases, they could feel like the world would be better off without them, or express suicidal ideation

How Can You Help?

You can help a friend or loved one in emotional suffering first by knowing and recognizing these signs. If you notice one or more of these signs in someone you care about, talk to them about it. You can suggest working with a Support Navigator at Healthy365, and we can connect them with one of the many local resources to best fit their mental health needs. NOTE: If you feel they are at risk of harming themselves or others, call 911 immediately. 

Reach out to a Healthy365 Support Navigator today at 317-468-4231 to discover the wide variety of resources that are available to local Hancock County residents.

Five Signs of Emotional Suffering

Five Signs of Emotional Suffering © 2015 Give an Hour