Mental Health and the LGBTQ+ Community

Available with English captions and subtitles in Spanish.

Mental health challenges impact people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. But research suggests that members of the LGBTQ+ community face these challenges at higher rates than heterosexual and cisgender individuals.

Why? The experts point to stigma and discrimination as likely contributing factors, while also noting that many face additional barriers to treatment.

So how can LGBTQ+ people best manage their mental well-being? And where can they turn for help? What about parents, educators, and treatment providers? What should they know about their potential to make a difference?

Audience Questions

Jeff Day, DNP, AGPCNP-BC, CNEcl, breaks down the most prevalent mental health challenges facing those who identify as LGBTQ+, shares tips for supporting someone in this community, and discusses the groundbreaking work he’s doing to help prepare nursing students to meet the needs of LGBTQ+ individuals.

  • Can you help clarify some of the vocabulary used in discussions involving the LGBTQ+ community?
  • Where are we currently with the use of personal gender pronouns? And what do you want us to know about them?
  • What is your guidance for someone who is uncertain how to use these pronouns and wants to avoid offending someone?
  • What do we know about the size and composition of the LGBTQ+ community?
  • Can you talk about some of the life challenges that can impact this community—stigma and discrimination, for example—in terms of how they might lead to mental health challenges?
  • When you look at the trend line of these challenges, are things moving in the right direction?
  • What about coming out today? Are we seeing more acceptance of LGBTQ+ individuals when they share their identities with family members, for example?
  • Are there resources available to the LGBTQ+ community that can be helpful in addressing some of these life challenges?
  • From your perspective, what would help address some of these life challenges?
  • Let’s talk about some of the mental health challenges that impact the LGBTQ+ community. What stands out to you?
  • Can you share some LGBTQ+ mental health resources?
  • What should we know about the LGBTQ+ community and substance use disorders?
  • What are some of the unique challenges for LGBTQ+ individuals looking for mental health treatment?
  • What are some screening questions that an LGBTQ+ person might ask of potential therapists?
  • Can you talk about the importance of asking these screening questions—even when that’s uncomfortable?
  • What is your sense of the level of training within the professional community for addressing the specific needs of the LGBTQ+ community?
  • Tell us about the groundbreaking elective you’ve created for nursing students at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing, where you work as a clinical assistant professor?
  • What kind of reaction are you getting from your colleagues and others about this new program?
  • Can you give us an example of what you hope students will take away from this elective?
  • Can you offer some guidance for someone who is a member of the LGBTQ+ community wanting to seek mental health treatment, but is somewhat intimidated by the whole process?
  • What are some considerations that LGBTQ+ individuals should keep in mind when looking for a therapist?
  • What can educators do to best support members of the LGBTQ+ community—especially younger ones?
  • How about family members wanting to support a relative who identifies as LGBTQ+?
  • How can folks who are aware of what’s happening with hate crimes or other issues around the LGBTQ+ community make a difference?
  • What about showing societal support for the LGBTQ+ community through local Pride efforts?
  • Can you talk about why depression can be especially acute for someone in the LGBTQ+ community?
  • Can you remind us again that there are important resources for those who might be in crisis?
  • Is there ever a concern about lumping together many specific identities under one LGBTQ+ umbrella? Are there distinct differences between the various subsets of the community?
  • What about the benefits of bringing the LGBTQ+ community subsets together?
  • What suggestions do you have for individuals who might not be living with a clinical disorder, but are struggling with their mental well-being? Do you have some thoughts on general mental wellness practices?
  • When it comes to the big picture of medicine, where do you see opportunities for making advancements for the LGBTQ+ community?
  • Why is it so important to train nurses in particular to have an appreciation of the challenges facing the LGBTQ+ community?
  • In a best-case scenario, what would medical treatment look like for an LGBTQ+ individual down the road?
  • How satisfied are you that discussions about effective health care for the LGBTQ+ community are taking place right now among policymakers at the highest levels?
  • What should mental health care providers be doing to better prepare themselves for dealing with the specific challenges of individuals who identify as LGBTQ+?
  • Do you know of any resources for someone in the LGBTQ+ community looking for Spanish-speaking therapists?
  • How important is peer support for someone in the LGBTQ+ community dealing with mental health challenges?
  • Is it your sense that some individuals who identify as LGBTQ+ are concerned about disclosing their identity to a therapist?

The information discussed is intended to be educational and should not be used as a substitute for guidance provided by your health care provider. Please consult with your treatment team before making any changes to your care plan.


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About Jeff Day

Jeff Day, DNP, AGPCNP-BC, CNEcl, is a sought-after expert in LGBTQ+ care and lectures throughout the U.S. He is a clinical assistant professor at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing. Day is also a nurse practitioner with the Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai.

Day is board-certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as an adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner and certified by the National League for Nursing as an academic clinical nurse educator.

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Originally aired February 7, 2023