by Amanda Bassos, M.S.
Regional Clinical Outreach Director, Lifeskills South Florida
Celebrate pride. Celebrate community. Celebrate you! Pride Month is a beautiful picture of strength with displays of a large community that bans together and unities with a core belief. Pride Month within the LGBTQ+ Community is a beautiful picture of strength. This is a community that values being unapologetically true to oneself and demonstrating love, dignity, and respect.
Pride Month History
Although June’s celebration of pride presents with joy, such a celebration was not easy to achieve. Pride month commemorates the impact of many voices and the many sacrifices from individuals around the world. In June 1969, New York City experienced riots within the LGBTQ+ Community against a police raid. These riots served as a ‘call-to-action’ and a chance to create the movement needed for change. Today, our world continues the fight for LGBTQ+ equal rights. Pride Month is celebrated globally through various parades and marches. June 2020 will look different than previous years given the current state of the Coronavirus Pandemic. While many events have been canceled physically, Pride celebrations continue in smaller groups and via virtual platforms.
Prevalence of Mental Illness
Research shows that the LGBTQ+ community faces health disparities linked to societal stigma and discrimination, which has been associated with increased rates of mental health disorders, substance use disorders, and suicide. According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 44.1% of US adults suffered from a mental illness, 38% of these were part of the LGBTQ+ community. Depression and anxiety tend to be the most noted mental health disorders. Additionally, an estimated 20-30% of the LGBTQ+ community abuse substances, compared to about 9% of the general population, and 25% abuse alcohol, compared to 5-10% of the general population.
Suicide rates also tend to be higher for this population with approximately 39% reporting serious thoughts of taking their own lives. According to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline, young people are twice as likely to feel suicidal and over four times likely to attempt suicide, compared to heterosexual youth. Also, 40% of transgender adults have attempted suicide during their lifetime, compared to less than five percent of the US population.
These statistics lead us to ask why do we see higher rates of mental illness and suicide in this population? Stigma is often the driver of the higher rates of mental health issues for this population. This stigma, lack of cultural sensitivity, and the unconscious and conscious reluctance to address sexuality often hampers treatment. However, due to the countless advocates of the LGBTQ+ Community, there are far more support services in place to care for the presenting needs of this community than ever before. Programs, such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), exist to provide community-based support systems offered in group settings and individual practices.
Quality, Compassionate Help
Lifeskills South Florida offers quality, compassionate care for adults who have a mental illness or substance use disorder. We believe that individuals have the intrinsic ability for self-healing with the support of compassionate and nurturing caregivers. We value treating all with dignity and respect while providing client-centered services from professionals who are trained in evidence-based practices and trauma-informed care. All clinicians are Doctoral or master’s level professionals who have acquired national certifications within their respective areas of specialty. For 30 years, Lifeskills South Florida has offered psychiatric and substance abuse treatment for adults presenting with complex psychiatric and substance use disorders. Our continuum of care includes residential treatment, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient programming, and transitional living.
Lifeskills South Florida fosters a collaborative, harmonious, and strength-based culture with all partners: clients, team, families, and community. The Lifeskills culture of inclusivity extends into the acceptance of all clients, regardless of where one is on the journey toward recovery and acceptance. Our team’s practice is informed by research and training and we remain innovative and flexible in our approach to treatment.
Our belief inspires us to be a national center of excellence, transforming lives, and empowering clients to sustain long-term recovery. Lifeskills South Florida is the place where second chances become new beginnings. As we come together this month, we celebrate individuals, we celebrate advocates, and we celebrate all the wonderful characteristics that define this proud community.