“Often, it’s not about becoming a new person, but becoming the person you were meant to be, and already are, but don’t know how to be.” Heath L. Buckmaster.
Office for National Statistics (2016) states that just over 1 million (2.0%) of the UK population aged 16 and over identified themselves as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB).
Whether you are struggling with mental health issues, your identity, or just need someone to talk to, it’s important that you can access the support you deserve.
Our sexuality and gender can form a large part of our identity. For those of us that don’t fit into the heteronormative ideal, we can face some challenges. If you identify as LGBTQ+ it’s likely that you identify as either gay, lesbian, transexual, pansexual, asexual, queer, non-binary or questions (or you may define your gender and sexuality in different ways). Discrimination, bullying and a lack of understanding can be a common concern, or experience.
Within the LGBTQ+ community mental health difficulties are experienced at a higher rate. Primarily this is because of the adverse reactions to their/our gender, sexuality and identity, from people outside the community.
LGBTQ+ Support | Gay Counsellor
Specialist counselling and psychotherapy for the LGBTQ+ community in Nuneaton & Hinckley
Mental health and sexuality
I support members of the LGBTQ+ community daily. The most common mental health difficulties that I see:
Depression - low mood for a prolonged period of time
Anxiety - feeling worried, anxious or nervous for a prolonged period of time
Self-harm - when you hurt yourself purposefully to cope with difficult or upsetting emotions
Suicidal thoughts - when you feel extremely low and think about ways to end your own life
Sometimes those within the LGBTQ+ community experience rejection from their family, friends or work colleagues. And, as a result, may feel the need to hide this part of themselves. Alcohol and drug use may be used to cope with these difficult emotions. It’s my role to help you navigate these difficult times, feelings and emotions, emerging from therapy to embrace who you are and what you stand for.
Support for the LGBTQ+ community
Speaking to a counsellor can help with some of the difficulties that you’re facing, such as:
accepting your sexuality
dealing with peoples reactions
low self-esteem or low self-confidence
fear of violence or abuse
feeling that your body doesn’t reflect your true gender
I believe that everyone deserves to feel loved, respected, embraced and encouraged to be who they are.
The term ‘coming out’ can be used to describe telling people about your sexuality or gender identity. Feeling comfortable to do this can take some time. There is no need to rush to tell people. Just do what feels right for you.
‘Coming out’ can be a challenging time, as reactions can be unpleasant and rejection is sometimes a possibility. However for many people they receive the support and understanding that they deserve.
Hiding your sexuality or gender identity can have a negative impact on your mental health and wellbeing, as it’s incredibly difficult to do.
Try to create a support network including friends, family members, online communities or professional support (or all of these). This can help you through this step.
What is my experience?
My own experiences and struggles have deeply impacted my work as an LGBTQ+ therapist. I have a deep and intimate understanding of the emotions and challenges associated with those from the LGBTQ+ community. I also know that struggling with these issues can be an isolating experience. It is important that anyone coming to terms with their sexuality or gender identity, that is facing discrimination, rejection or isolation, has the support they need and deserve. I am dedicated to providing this in my practice.
I’ve worked with the LGBTQ+ community for many years, in a wide range of settings, including: community mental health charities, local cancer charities, private rehab centres and local children's services. Every one of these experiences has shaped me into the therapist I am today. In addition, my personal experiences have deeply impacted the insight I am able to bring to my work and my clients.
I can relate to the pain and frustration that sometimes comes from telling those around us about our sexuality or gender, and coming to terms with it ourselves.