Many people navigated the last few years of global turmoil and the pandemic with a renewed focus on overall well-being. Whether it is physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual health, shifts in the way we all take care of ourselves are bringing more people from all experiences and backgrounds to therapy. When it comes to support for issues around sexuality and gender identities finding counsellors and other health professionals can often be a daunting and unsafe experience for queer and trans people.
What do statistics tell us about mental health in the 2SLGBTQ+ community? And what are we at Solidarity Therapy doing to support 2SLGBTQ+ people?
What the Numbers Say
The Canadian Mental Health Association (2023) explained there are three main factors that lead to an increase in mental health and mood disorder (such as anxiety or depression) diagnoses in the 2SLGBTQ+ community. These are
• social exclusion
• experiences of discrimination and violence, and
• difficulties accessing economic resources.
According to Statistics Canada (2022), 4% of Canadians identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or something other than heterosexual, and 0.33% identify as trans, nonbinary, or two spirited, and they encounter discrimination and high rates of physical and mental health risks and complications. Compared to heterosexual people, 2SLGBTQ+ people face higher rates of depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive and phobic disorders, suicidality, self-harm, and substance use; and double the risk for post-traumatic stress disorder.
2SLGBTQ+ youth face particularly significant challenges:
• They have approximately 14 times the risk of suicide and substance abuse compared to their heterosexual peers (Centre for Suicide Prevention , 2018)
• Trans youth and those who have experienced physical or sexual assault were found to be at greatest risk for self harm and death by suicide.
• 2SLGBTQ+ youth are overrepresented in the unhoused population in Canada.
Although these statistics are concerning and warrant more attention from society and our communities as a whole, there are some encouraging factors that can increase the safety and well-being of 2SLGBTQ+ adults and youth. Having even one safe adult in their life who affirms and acknowledges their identity, decreases the risk of death by suicide significantly.
How Solidarity Therapy Is Helping
We at Solidarity Therapy take the mental health and well-being of the 2SLGBTQ+ members of our community to heart. We are openly queer and trans affirming, we listen and learn from community members, and we are active in combatting hate and discrimination in our practice as counsellors and as members of our own unique communities. Being intersectional and anti-oppressive is the core of Solidarity Therapy. To support our 2SLGBTQ+ clients we:
• are counsellors and social workers who continuously and actively engage in our own anti-oppression work and come together to participate in anti-oppression workshops;
• have several clinicians who openly identify as members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community;
• provide individual and group counselling for queer and trans clients; and,
• offer a sliding scale rate for those without benefits or who are facing discrimination as a marginalized person.
If you or someone you know is searching for a queer or trans-affirming counsellor, or is looking for ways to make connections and build community as a member of the 2SLGBTQ+ community in the Fraser Valley, feel free to book a consultation or check out our events schedule for future community offerings and engagements.
Canadian Mental Health Association. (2023). Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans & queer identified people and mental health. https://ontario.cmha.ca/documents/lesbian-gay-bisexual-trans-queer-identified-people-and-mental-health/
Centre for Suicide Prevention . (2018, September 1). Sexual minorities and suicide prevention. https://www.suicideinfo.ca/local_resource/sexual-minorities-suicide-prevention/
Statistics Canada. (2022, December 1). Canada at a glance, 2022; LGBTQ2+ people. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/12-581-x/2022001/sec6-eng.htm