A community and a health issue of concern
- Mental illnesses and challenges that India’s LGBTQIA++ people face need comprehensive and long-term solutions.
Reasons for stigma and suffering
- Life-long dissonance
- Deep-rooted stigma,
- Abuse that leads to extreme distress and poor self-worth, resulting in self-hate and suffering.
- Society marginalises them throughout life.
- If a person’s gender identity is different from sex assigned to them at birth, this conflict and othering is extreme.
- Person feels trapped and conflicted, that feeds their gender dysphoria.
- All these can result in internalised homophobia, often leading to anxiety, loneliness and substance use.
Inadequate health services
- Mental health services are hardly available.
- Psychiatrists in India still consider diverse sexual orientations and gender identities as a disorder and practice ‘correctional therapy’.
- This is true of general health care as well.
- Raahat Project: large number of trans and gay men preferred to seek help in private sector rather than access government health care due to harassment and stigma.
- long-term solutions that make queer mental health a priority.
- Engage all stakeholders: educational institutions, communities, health-care providers, mental health professionals, police personnel and families.
- Aspect of mental health work must include aspects of queer mental health issues to destigmatise diverse gender and sexual identities.
- Build self-care skills among queer adolescents and youth.
- Movement on queer mental health guided by non-discrimination and public awareness to change social attitudes.
- Community building can improve mental health for LGBTQIA++ people.
- Without addressing both the preventive and support aspects of the mental health of LGBTQIA++ people we will compound an already neglected problem of mental illness that will be hard to handle in the future.