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LGBTI: Mental Health

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LGBTI: Mental Health

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LGBTI: Mental Health

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Discuss about the LGBTI for Mental Health.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among youths. However the rate of suicide among GLBTI (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual or intersexual) has increased considerably. This has become a severe concern in different countries. This essay gives an insight into the prevalence of high suicide rates among GLBTI people compared to general population. It provides a detailed report regarding the statistics on suicide and mental health conditions among GLBTI youth in Australia. The essay analyses the factors that lead to suicide in these people. It gives detail on the risk factors related to suicide and suicidal tendency among this group due to biological, social and environmental factors in the society. It provides an explanation of the contributing factors that lead to mental illness, depression, distress and ultimately suicide in the gay and lesbian groups. The essay also gives detail on one strategy adopted by the Australian Government to prevent suicide in this group of people and described the priorities taken by them to prevent suicide rate in GLBTI youth.
The attempted suicide rate and suicidal behavior among GLBTI (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual or intersexual) youth has increased compared to general population. The negative attitude towards this community has put this group at increased risk of violence and discrimination in society. About 29% gay students and 28% bisexual students experience violence, and this has lead to greater thought about suicide in this group of people (“LGBT Youth | Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health | CDC”, 2016). About 25% transgender youth has been reported to commit suicide attempts. Each episode of victimisation in GLBTI including physical or verbal harassment increases the chance of suicide by about 2.5 times (“Facts About Suicide”, 2016). Regarding statistics on Australia, mental health of LGBTI people in Australia is the poorest. They are twice likely to have higher psychological distress compared to the heterosexual population. This group also has the highest rate of suicide deaths than the general population in Australia (Skerrett et al., 2014). A study reported that about 84% transsexual population had thought about ending their lives and up to 50% of them had to attempted to commit suicide at least once in their lives (Beyondblue.org.au., 2016)
There may be several contributing factors leading to suicide in LGBTI youths in Australia. Some LGBTI group may experience worse heath outcomes due to poor mental health. The majority of them have been diagnosed with the major depressive disorder and increased psychological stress. This has made them vulnerable to mental illness. The high rate of mental ill-health and suicidal thought among LGBTI community is not due their sexual identity, but due to the discrimination and exclusion acts they face in the society (Russell & Fish, 2016). This is due to homophobia or transphobia in a society which means prejudice against people who do not conform to mainstream gender-specific norms (Hatzenbuehler et al., 2014). This thought is expressed by individuals in the form of stereotyping, ostracizing, discrimination, harassment and violence. Therefore this factor is a key determinant of health in LGBTI people. High exposure to violence by general population put the gays and lesbian people at more risk of mental health and suicide (Bouris et al., 2016). This has a significant impact on people mental health leading to psychological distress and suicidal behavior. They have another risk due to factors like biological, social, environmental and psychological that can cause depression, anxiety and death due to suicide in LGBTI youths (O’Brien et al., 2016).
Social risk triggering suicide in homosexual populations is social stigma and discrimination existing against this person in the society. Many people have a negative attitude towards these people, and they try to harm them by different ways. The general population engages in troubling these groups by mobbing, assaulting and lynching them. This kind of violence is motivated by homophobia, lesbophobia, cultural and regional biases and many more biases in society (Lyons et al., 2015). They face rejection from friends, society and even families.  It may also have an impact on their career and retention of jobs. It limits their access to high quality health care and causes lot of mental stress on such people. They also suffer due to substance abuse, risky sexual behavior and poor mental health. The inability to maintain long-term sexual relationship also negatively affects their health. The cumulative effect of all this suffering leads to high rate of suicide in these people (Goldblum et al., 2012).
Gay and lesbians are about ten times more likely to experience discrimination based on sexual orientation (Skerrett & Mars, 2014). They are subjected to mistreatment in the form of verbal insults, insulting joke, unequal treatment and violence. They face discriminatory behaviour in almost all places like college, home, schools, work and in the community. Rejection starts at home when they experience an adverse reaction from parents. Many are neglected by their parents because of their sexual orientation. Some had suffered physical abuse, and they are more likely to use illegal drugs and attempt suicides (Levine et al., 2013). Bullying is also common against this person in schools and colleges. The bullying can be so intense that people may suffer from major depression and feel that taking their lives is a better option than suffering these atrocities inflicted on them (Lindsey et al., 2013). Discrimination and harassment are also common in the workplace. Several studies have reported that gay people are less likely to be called for interviews (Harley & Teaster, 2016). Political biases also exist against LGBTI people in which they are unequally treated under the law. They are not given marital rights and adoption rights. One study showed that when gay men were given marital and adoption right, they had greater self-esteem and fewer symptoms of depression and mental illness (Grossman et al., 2016). But when laws discriminated against marital and adoption rights for older people, they suffered more low self-esteem and tried to commit suicide in frustration and grief (Kwon, 2013).
This group of individuals is also more likely to use alcohol and drugs. Alcohol and drugs use increases suicidal behavior of LGBTI people. Substance abuse is also a predictor sign of person suffering from mental traumas and trying to commit suicide. Substance abuse increases impulsiveness and decreases judgment level of individuals. It leads to social isolation, loss of employment and estrangement from family and friends. It hinders their self-esteem and causes significant mental distress (Smith et al., 2016). Moreover, many GLBTI youth is forced to turn to criminalized activities such as sex work to survive, which drives them further onto the margins of society and can expose them to substantially elevated risk for HIV. The ultimate impact of this factor is committing suicide (Moskowitz et al., 2013).
The Australian Government had taken an initiative for suicide prevention in LGBTI people under the National Suicide Prevention Strategy. The LGBTI youth suicide problem prevention program worked on the interrelated mechanism. They targeted specific initiatives and prioritised inclusion to prevent the high rate of suicide among this community (Cooper et al., 2015). The main aim of this inclusion strategy was to make mainstream mental health and suicide prevention services available to the majority of LGBTI people in Australia to address their problems and issues related to violence and discrimination society. The agenda was that all research, policy and practice related to mental health and suicide prevention activities must be inclusive of LGBTI people and their specific problems in life. The purpose was to remove the barrier and provide necessary service. The services were sensitive to the needs of this group of people (Newman et al., 2015). Invest in arranging for resources required for the task and reliant on volunteers and models for peer support was another concern. Inclusion meant visibility of LGBTI issues in programs, services, policy, resources, research and monitoring in different problems (Skerrett & Mars, 2014).
The Australian Government implemented awareness training for all general health practitioners in mental health. They also arranged for training suicide prevention service provider regarding the understanding of different complexities in their life (Skerrett & Mars, 2014). It was a multi-dimension approach that looked at all factors like
Human resource- They proposed an improvement in recruitment, competence and workforce development to support LGBTI community in their professional growth (Trau et al., 2013).
Paradigm- The focus was on client-centred care that addresses all the biological and social problems in each LGBTI people (Ftanou et al., 2016).
Scope- They wanted their scope of services to be high so that it reaches the target group by proper screening methods. For this, they adopted tools like screening form which areas or people were at more risk of violence, mental illness and suicide (Carman et al., 2012).
Marketing strategy- Their marketing strategy related to niche marketing in improving LGBTI situation, funding resources and building stakeholder relationship for resource allocation (Ftanou et al., 2016).
The purpose was to enhance the lives of this group of people by providing better health outcome and good conditions of living. They addressed the interpersonal and socio-cultural issue by interventions at a level to reduce the stigma associated with such homosexual people (Newman et al., 2015).
From the detailed essay on suicide rate on LGBTI people, one can conclude that addressing their problems is important to provide them equal right and living conditions. The statistics on the prevalence of suicide attempt and suicide death in this group of people highlighted the serious attention that this group requires. The essay also explained that different factors existing in society contribute to depression, mental illness and substance abuse in gay and lesbian people. It gave an idea about the extent of intervention required to address the issue. Finally, the essay provided an example of one particular strategy taken by the Australian Government to address this problem and prevent suicide rate in LGBTI people. The effort of both general population and the government is required to provide them with the basic right to living and employment.
Beyondblue.org.au. (2016).  Retrieved 13 August 2016, from https://www.beyondblue.org.au/docs/default-source/default-document-library/bw0258-lgbti-mental-health-and-suicide-2013-2nd-edition.pdf?sfvrsn=2
Bouris, A., Everett, B. G., Heath, R. D., Elsaesser, C. E., & Neilands, T. B. (2016). Effects of victimization and violence on suicidal ideation and behaviors among sexual minority and heterosexual adolescents. LGBT health, 3(2), 153-161.
Carman, M., Corboz, J., & Dowsett, G. W. (2012). Falling through the cracks: the gap between evidence and policy in responding to depression in gay, lesbian and other homosexually active people in Australia. Australian and New Zealand journal of public health, 36(1), 76-83.
Cooper, T., Ferguson, C., Chapman, B., & Cucow, S. (2015). 5 Success Stories from Youth Suicide Prevention in Australia. Youth and Inequality in Education: Global Actions in Youth Work, 71.
Facts About Suicide. (2016). Thetrevorproject.org. Retrieved 13 August 2016, from https://www.thetrevorproject.org/pages/facts-about-suicide
Ftanou, M., Cox, G., Nicholas, A., Spittal, M. J., Machlin, A., Robinson, J., & Pirkis, J. (2016). Suicide prevention public service announcements (PSAs): examples from around the world. Health communication, 1-9.
Goldblum, P., Testa, R. J., Pflum, S., Hendricks, M. L., Bradford, J., & Bongar, B. (2012). The relationship between gender-based victimization and suicide attempts in transgender people. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 43(5), 468.
Grossman, A. H., Park, J. Y., & Russell, S. T. (2016). Transgender Youth and Suicidal Behaviors: Applying the Interpersonal Psychological Theory of Suicide. Journal of Gay & Lesbian Mental Health, (just-accepted), 00-00.
Harley, D. A., & Teaster, P. B. (2016). LGBT Intersection of Age and Sexual Identity in the Workplace. In Handbook of LGBT Elders (pp. 551-562). Springer International Publishing.
Hatzenbuehler, M. L., Birkett, M., Van Wagenen, A., & Meyer, I. H. (2014). Protective school climates and reduced risk for suicide ideation in sexual minority youths. Journal Information, 104(2).
Hatzenbuehler, M. L., Phelan, J. C., & Link, B. G. (2013). Stigma as a fundamental cause of population health inequalities. American journal of public health, 103(5), 813-821.
Kwon, P. (2013). Resilience in lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals.Personality and Social Psychology Review, 17(4), 371-383.
Levine, D. A., Braverman, P. K., Adelman, W. P., Breuner, C. C., Marcell, A. V., Murray, P. J., & O’Brien, R. F. (2013). Office-based care for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth. Pediatrics, 132(1), e297-e313.
LGBT Youth | Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health | CDC. (2016).Cdc.gov. Retrieved 13 August 2016, from https://www.cdc.gov/lgbthealth/youth.htm
Lindsey, R. B., Diaz, R. M., Nuri-Robins, K., Terrell, R. D., & Lindsey, D. B. (2013). A culturally proficient response to LGBT communities: A guide for educators. Corwin Press.
Lyons, A., Hosking, W., & Rozbroj, T. (2015). Rural‐Urban Differences in Mental Health, Resilience, Stigma, and Social Support Among Young Australian Gay Men. The Journal of Rural Health, 31(1), 89-97.
Moskowitz, A., Stein, J. A., & Lightfoot, M. (2013). The mediating roles of stress and maladaptive behaviors on self-harm and suicide attempts among runaway and homeless youth. Journal of youth and adolescence, 42(7), 1015-1027.
Newman, L., Baum, F., Javanparast, S., O’Rourke, K., & Carlon, L. (2015). Addressing social determinants of health inequities through settings: a rapid review. Health promotion international, 30(suppl 2), ii126-ii143.
O’Brien, K. H. M., Putney, J. M., Hebert, N. W., Falk, A. M., & Aguinaldo, L. D. (2016). Sexual and gender minority youth suicide: understanding subgroup differences to inform interventions. LGBT health, 3(4), 248-251.
Russell, S. T., & Fish, J. N. (2016). Mental health in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth. Annual review of clinical psychology, 12, 465.
Skerrett, D. M., & Mars, M. (2014). Addressing the Social Determinants of Suicidal Behaviors and Poor Mental Health in LGBTI Populations in Australia. LGBT health, 1(3), 212-217.
Skerrett, D. M., Kolves, K., & De Leo, D. (2014). Suicides among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender populations in Australia: An analysis of the Queensland Suicide Register. Asia‐Pacific Psychiatry, 6(4), 440-446.
Smith, B. C., Armelie, A. P., Boarts, J. M., Brazil, M., & Delahanty, D. L. (2016). PTSD, depression, and substance use in relation to suicidality risk among traumatized minority lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth. Archives of suicide research, 20(1), 80-93.
Trau, R. N., Härtel, C. E., & Härtel, G. F. (2013). Reaching and hearing the invisible: Organizational research on invisible stigmatized groups via web surveys. British Journal of Management, 24(4), 532-541.

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