The Impact of Discrimination and Stigma on Mental Health

June 26th, 2024

Ensuring that everyone has access to comprehensive mental health care is essential for promoting well-being and resilience in both individuals and communities. Taking care of your mental health is crucial for building strong relationships and experiencing a meaningful life.

The queer community, with its resilience, strength, and courage to live authentically, adds even more beauty to our already diverse world. However, discrimination and stigma continue to overshadow mental health and well-being within this community. Experiencing discrimination and stigma while seeking or receiving services can deeply affect an individual’s feelings of self-worth, belonging, and ability to access necessary care. Recognizing these challenges is important not only for building empathy and understanding but also for creating inclusive environments and advocating for individuals to receive care without fear of judgment or bias. At Wombat Mental Health Services, we understand the importance of providing equitable access to culturally appropriate, non-judgmental, and affirmative mental health services for individuals from communities who have historically faced barriers in accessing care. Our team consists of highly qualified and uniquely skilled mental health practitioners who are deeply committed to creating a safe and supportive environment for our clients.

LGBTQIA2S+ individuals often face barriers when seeking mental health services. These barriers can include reluctance to seek help due to past experiences of discrimination or fear of encountering healthcare providers who are not knowledgeable or supportive of LGBTQIA2S+ identities. This can result in delayed treatment or avoidance of mental health care altogether. Shockingly, some studies have found that “1 out of 3 transgender individuals were turned away from care due to their gender identity” and “among university students, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and other sexual and gender minority (LGBT+) students exhibit worse mental health outcomes than their heterosexual and cisgender peers around the world.”

Discrimination and stigma contribute to higher rates of mental health issues like depression, anxiety, substance use disorders, and suicidality among LGBTQIA2S+ individuals. According to the minority stress model, these factors create hostile and stress-generating social environments which can lead to avoidance of care or receiving inappropriate care. Discrimination can also manifest as interpersonal trauma, including verbal harassment, physical violence, or sexual assault motivated by anti-LGBTQ bias. These experiences can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), ongoing anxiety, and difficulty trusting others, compounding the mental health challenges faced by LGBTQIA2S+ individuals.

To address these issues effectively, it is crucial to continue raising awareness about the unique mental health needs of LGBTQIA2S+ individuals and to advocate for policies and practices that promote inclusivity, sensitivity, and respect within healthcare settings. By doing so, we can work towards ensuring that all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, have access to the mental health care they need and deserve. At Wombat Mental Health Services, we are dedicated to listening to our clients, understanding their needs, and working collaboratively to help them achieve their goals. We strive to create a space where our clients can BE SEEN. BE HEARD. BE HERE. Journey with us as we Reindigenize and Reimagine mental health.


Where you can find LGBTQIA2S-friendly and supportive doctors:

  1. GLMA Provider Directory: GLMA (Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality) offers a directory of healthcare providers who are committed to providing quality care to LGBTQ individuals. You can search for providers by specialty and location.
  2. Pride Foundation’s LGBTQ+ Health Care Providers List: Pride Foundation provides a list of LGBTQ-friendly healthcare providers across various specialties and regions.
  3. QSpaces App: QSpaces is an app that helps LGBTQ individuals find affirming healthcare providers. It allows users to search for providers based on location and specialty and provides reviews from other LGBTQ patients.
  4. Healthcare Equality Index (HEI): The HEI is a national benchmarking tool that evaluates healthcare facilities’ policies and practices related to LGBTQ patients, visitors, and employees. While it primarily assesses healthcare facilities rather than individual providers, it can be a useful resource to find LGBTQ-inclusive healthcare organizations.
  5. Local LGBTQ Community Centers: Your local LGBTQ community centers should have lists or can provide recommendations for LGBTQ-friendly healthcare providers in your area. They may also offer resources and support related to accessing healthcare.


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