News Seattle

What We Learned from Pride Speaks

Apr 13, 2022 | Seattle Pride

The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that while each unique subset within the LGBTQIA+ community has different experiences, all LGBTQIA+ community members are more likely to experience:

  • Mental health challenges like depression and anxiety, especially if trans or a member of the BIPOC community.
  • Bullying and harassment
  • Rejection from family members and friends
  • Substance Use Disorder
  • Homelessness and housing instability
  • Risk of suicide

That’s why the Seattle Out & Proud Foundation decided to make our March 21st Pride Speaks event all about Queer Mental Health.

Our panelists engaged in an in-depth conversation around creating positive self-image, building healthy relationships, and accessing queer-affirming mental health care. Here are some of our key takeaways, with help from our friends at C89.5 FM!

  • It takes strength to ask for help, and individual strength can most assuredly be fostered by community
  • The queer community faces the challenge of compounded stigmatization when it comes to their mental health, and therefore requires double the resources and advocacy
  • Referrals are practically essential in helping queer folks find understanding mental health caregivers
  • Coming out is a lifelong process / experience
  • All queer people have a shared trauma, through which they find a crucial community. This community fosters perseverance and self-acceptance which perpetuates acceptance by the world around us.
  • The only way to 'unshackle' mental health stigma is to put faces to the names of it
  • Never hesitate to ask someone about mental health or their struggles
  • It's hard to get somebody to get help for themselves, but it's always worth trying and informing that person you are a resource.
    • Specific and direct asks for the receiver are critical, like "Call me when you're in crisis" as opposed to "Call me any time". The former creates a very different response in that person's brain that will be available in times of duress or crisis.
  • o What can I do for you? What can I take off your plate? Are you getting enough sleep/rest? Are you getting enough food?
  • We can't make systemic change if we don't talk about these things, to the greater community and to our lawmakers

Pride Speaks is a recurring speaking series focused on various topics which impact our LGBTQIA+ community. Each session, Seattle Out & Proud Foundation invites experts and community members with lived experience to share their knowledge, reframe issues, and inspire action. After the panel discussion or talk, there's time for audience Q&A.