Support for LGBTIQA+ people
Wellbeing is not about the absence of illness or always feeling happy and upbeat. It's normal to have ups and downs. Life can be challenging, and we all need support during times of stress, grief, loss, relationship problems, and when we’re under work or financial pressure.
This is particularly true for LGBTIQA+ people. You might feel “different” from other people around you, feel pressure to change your body or self-expression, conform to social norms for your sex or gender, or deny or change your sexuality. You might also experience stigma, discrimination, harassment, and verbal or physical abuse.
You don’t have to cope with these feelings and experiences alone. Seeking support early can help prevent mental health and wellbeing challenges becoming worse.
Keeping on top of your mental health and wellbeing
It’s important to take time out to do whatever you can every day to help you live well.
Looking after your physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing is an ongoing process but it doesn’t have to be daunting. The key is to find the right balance to help you thrive.
There are simple things you can do to get started and help stay on top of your wellbeing.
Building strong connections
We all need a sense of connection. Positive and meaningful social connections can help us be happier and healthier.
However, experiences of discrimination and stigma you might have gone through may lead to fears about connecting with others. It may also make it hard for you to trust and rely on others for support. You might also feel uncomfortable in sharing information about your gender identity, sexual orientation, or differences in bodies or sex characteristics. But you are not alone, and support is available.
Finding and connecting with peers and advocacy groups in the LGBTIQA+ community can be especially helpful. You can also watch or read content produced by people with lived experience. Online forums, email, and webchat can help overcome barriers of distance and time. There are big LGBTIQA+ communities in Australia and around the world.
Feeling safe and secure
Feeling safe and secure is important for positive wellbeing. Many factors can influence your sense of security at home, in your community, and in your workplace. You might have experiences of discrimination, harassment, and verbal or physical abuse or you may worry about these things occurring. Your sense of security can also be related to financial stability, having a safe place to live, trust, job security, supportive friends, and warm relationships in your family.
In your personal relationships, some friends and family members may not be accepting of who you are. But they may change their views with education and time. Whatever your relationship with friends, family members, or partners, it’s important to feel safe and supported and to take the necessary steps if you don’t.
Supporting someone else
It can be hard seeing someone you care about experience mental health challenges or struggle with daily life. And it’s natural to be unsure about what you can do to give them support. Sometimes the best thing you can do is listen without judgement, ask what is happening for them, and help them to access professional support.
If you want to support an LGBTIQA+ person you care about but aren’t sure where to start, there are practical things you can do that will make a difference.
There is not one single or unified LGBTIQA+ community, there are many communities. Issues impacting people who identify as LGBTIQA+ are complex and varying, unique to each individual, family, and community.
A higher number of people from LGBTIQA+ communities experience poorer social, emotional, and psychological wellbeing and mental health related to experiences of stigma, discrimination, violence, and exclusion.
Assumptions that people are heterosexual, cisgender, or have sex characteristics that fit medical norms for female or male bodies can have a negative effect on the health and wellbeing of LGBTIQA+ people.
If you’re interested in finding out more about LGBTIQA+ communities, how to support a loved one, and how to be a good ally, these resources are a good place to start:
- QLife welcomes contact from people who may not be LGBTI but who want to talk about someone else they care about, call 1800 184 527.
- LGBTIQ+ Health Australia is the national peak health organisation in Australia for organisations and individuals that provide health-related programs, services and research focused on lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans/transgender, intersex, queer and other sexuality, gender, and bodily diverse people.
- Families like mine is an online guide for parents and families of young people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, gender diverse, or are questioning their sexuality or gender identity.
- You can also find more information about language used in LGBTIQA+ communities and using appropriate pronouns, although the best thing to do is to ask your loved one how they would like to be described.
On this website, you can also find information on how to support someone who is having mental health challenges.