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Mental health experts discuss poor mental health among LGBTQ community

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) – May marks Mental Health Awareness Month, but for those in the LGBTQ community, people may be unaware of the mental health struggles they face.

“I have seen firsthand in my practice that kids that, before they came to terms with their sexuality, there were a lot of suicide attempts, a lot of self-injurious behavior, a lot of depression and anxiety,” said psychologist Dr. Katherine L. Stone.

Dr. Stone said a lack of support from family and a lack of resources, especially for kids, leads to this.

“Kids that are in the northeast or in major cities often times children and adults find more support there, so it’s hard when you live in the south and a red state like this,” she said.

Chris Hartman is the executive director of the LGBTQ civil rights organization, the Fairness Campaign.

He said 90 percent of LGBTQ youth say political anti-LGBTQ rhetoric has had a negative impact on their mental health.

“We are one of the 20-some-odd states now that have banned basic healthcare, you want to talk about what’s most lifesaving, you’ve got to life those restrictions,” Hartman said.

Dr. Stone added that creating a dialogue with the loved ones in your life and seeking out your support system, whether that be online or within your community, can be life-changing.

“I have a family member who shared with a grandmother that she was pansexual, and when she did, this southern grandmother said, ‘oh, honey, I don’t know what that is, but I’ll love you no matter what.’ When you can have families that can do that and provide that support, it just makes such a difference,” she said.

Stone said if a child is struggling with their mental health in regards to their sexual or gender identity, it is important for them to have a trusted adult in their life who may connect them with the resources they need.


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