Coming out as an LGBTIQ+ individual in India is still not easy. While the discourse has become more accepting in recent years, there’s a still a lot of prejudices and stigma around homosexuality in the country.
Many LGBTIQ+ people continue to face violence, harassment, and discrimination at their place of work, study or any other public or private setting.
Speaking to Pinkvilla, Dr. Venkatesh Babu, Consultant-Psychiatrist at Fortis Hospitals Bangalore, explained that this constant stigma around their sexuality often ends up having a deep impact on the minds of LGBTQ individuals.
He added that LGBTQ individuals tend to have more mental health trouble when compared to metrosexual people. They experience problems like depression, traumatic stress disorder, substance use disorder, suicidal tendencies and anxiety disorders.
“These illnesses are further complicated by the identity of the members of LGBTQ like non-acceptance by the majority, difficulty in being employed, poor support system, poverty, lack of educational opportunities, aggression, trauma, and abuse towards them which further serve as barriers in seeking medical help," he added.
One of the biggest roadblocks faced by LGBTQ individuals in overcoming their mental health issues is their families’ reactions to their sexuality. In growing up years, especially during the teenage years, the family’s reaction to sexuality deeply impacts the LGBTQ individuals’ emotional and mental position.
Lack of family acceptance leads to complex physiatric problems that can even result in the development of suicidal tendencies. The rate of suicidal attempts is higher in teen LGBTQ than in other age groups, said Dr Shalini Joshi, Internal Medicine, Fortis Hospital, Bannerghatta Road, Bangalore.
Living with the feeling of being cut off from society, LGBTQ teens often end up falling prey to substance abuse which eventually leads to the advancement of their mental health problems.
Family and societal acceptance of their sexuality and choices can do wonders for LGBTQ teens. For this, a larger systematic change needs to be brought in by raising awareness about sexuality and creating a larger environment where everyone feels accepted regardless of their looks, body type, or sexual preferences.