#HereForQueer: How to take care of your mental health this Pride Month according to an expert

1 month ago  |  99.9K
#HereForQueer: How to take care of your mental health this Pride Month according to an expert

Some of the common mental health problems that today’s youth face includes – depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, eating problems, substance use, etc. Research has shown that LGBTQ+ youth are more at risk and are more likely to experience the above-mentioned challenges as compared to non-LGBTQ+ youth. In addition, LGBTQ+ youth also deal with stigmatization, discrimination, homo/transphobia, isolation, exclusion and rejection. Many LGBTQ+ youth report the following issues - struggles with identity, difficult ‘coming out stories, strained relationships with family and friends and experiences of bullying and violence. All this can deeply influence how LGBTQ+ individuals see themselves. It can have negative impacts on their sense of self-worth and self-acceptance.

Here are some ways that LGBTQ+ youth can take care of their mental health:

Stay connected:

Identify people in your life that you value and those that value you. Stay connected and reach out to those who have been supportive of you and your journey. This could be members of your family, friends or trusted adults such as mentors or teachers. These are the support systems that will help you through challenging times.

Create a community:

Find a network of LGBTQ+ individuals to whom you can relate to. This can be through a support group, social media or in-person. This is an opportunity to understand your community better and may give you a sense of acceptance and belonging.

Express yourself

Channel your emotions and feelings through a creative outlet. You can write, draw, paint, design, dance, perform, etc. Embrace who you are by expressing yourself in a way that feels comfortable to you. This can improve your self-esteem and will leave you feeling empowered.

Engage in self-care:

Take care of your mind and body by eating healthy, sleeping well, exercising, etc. Start to engage in these daily activities right now as they will form the foundation for positive habits in adulthood. Spending time by yourself and making yourself a priority leads to improved overall mental wellness.

Focus on the positive:

When you are exploring and finding yourself, you may experience negative reactions. Remember and appreciate the help, support, acceptance and loving words that you have received. This is easier said than done but this intentional effort to shift the focus from the negative to the positive will help improve your mood.

Find coping strategies:

It is essential to develop healthy ways to manage and deal with anxiety and stress. Try activities such as journaling, meditation, mindfulness, yoga, listening to music, etc. which encourage you to feel, reflect and process your emotions. Using these coping strategies will bring you relief, give you a sense of control, and help you think clearly. The more often you use these techniques, the better prepared you are to deal with difficult emotions in your future.

Set your boundaries:

When you find yourself in a situation that does not feel like a ‘safe’ space or you encounter people that do not agree with who you are, you are allowed to say No, you are allowed to disengage and you are allowed to walk away. In challenging scenarios, it is necessary to choose your mental well-being.

Seek professional help:

If you feel that the pressure and stress are too much to handle then please reach out for professional help. Speak with mental health professionals and ask them questions regarding their work with individuals in the LGBTQ+ community. Make sure that you choose a therapist that makes you feel safe and comfortable.

About the author: - Dr. Jahnavi Shah, Occupational Therapist, Mpower - The Centre, Mumbai

ALSO READ: EXCLUSIVE: Post Covid Syndrome: What should you do if you have these symptoms?